The bi-partisan National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 (S. 714) was passed out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary today by voice vote. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) would create a commission to conduct a thorough evaluation of the nation's justice system and offer recommendations for reform at every stage of the criminal justice system.
The establishment of such a commission could not come at a more critical time. With 2.3 million people in prisons and jails, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Federal and state governments spend more than $50 billion each year on corrections, and the population behind bars continues to grow.
A new approach to crime prevention is necessary and the time for reform is upon us. The commission created by this legislation would establish an organized and proactive approach to studying and advancing programs and policies that promote public safety, while overhauling those practices that are found to be fundamentally flawed.
Sentencing Project's letter of endorsement