Time to Fix Criminal Justice System
Sen. Jim Webb says broken system must be fixed
By Jordan Smith,
1:00PM, Fri. Mar. 27, 2009
Noting, in part, that the number of drug offenders in prisons and jails has increased 1200% since 1980, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., on March 26 introduced legislation that would create a blue ribbon commission to study and make recommendations to improve the U.S. criminal justice system.
Gang activity is on the rise, the prison population has skyrocketed, and prisons have become holding tanks for the mentally ill, Webb notes in his new bill, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. Given the litany of problems with the system, Webb proposes empaneling a commission to review and make recommendations on how to reduce the prison population and improve public safety, cost-effectiveness, overall prison administration, and "fairness in the implementation of the Nation's criminal justice system." Notably, Webb's bill would require the Commission to examine current drug policy and "its impact on incarceration, crime and violence, sentencing, and reentry programs," and would include analysis of drug availability and availability of treatment programs.
"America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace," Webb said. "It's irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness."