Time to Fix Criminal Justice System

Sen. Jim Webb says broken system must be fixed

Sen. Jim Webb
Sen. Jim Webb

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."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Crime
UPDATED: Pitonyak Denied New Trial
UPDATED: Pitonyak Denied New Trial
But defense says it has new evidence Hall responsible for Cave murder

Jordan Smith, Oct. 16, 2013

Austin Police: Who Killed Matthew Casey?
Austin Police: Who Killed Matthew Casey?
Looking for suspects in Austin's 23rd murder

Jordan Smith, Sept. 12, 2012

More Courts
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Within two days, courts reject second election map, voter ID bill

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 25, 2017

Lecturers Sue to Block Campus Carry
Lecturers Sue to Block Campus Carry
Do Texas concealed handgun rules break the Second Amendment?

Richard Whittaker, July 7, 2016

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014


Crime, Courts, Jim Webb, drug war

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle