Criminal Justice: US Senator Introduces Bill to Create Commission for "Top-to-Bottom" Review of Criminal Justice System

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/jimwebb.jpg
Jim Webb at 2007 incarceration hearing (photo from sentencingproject.org)
US Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) yesterday introduced a bill that would create a commission designed to overhaul the US criminal justice system. The bill would create a commission that would have 18 months to do a top-to-bottom review of the criminal justice system and come back with concrete, wide-ranging reforms to address the nation's sky-high incarceration rate, responsd to international and domestic gang violence, and restructure the county's approach to drug policy.

"America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace," Webb said in introducing the bill. "Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration."

Opening with an all too familiar litany of ills plaguing the US criminal justice system-- skyrocketing incarceration, the imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders, the negative effects of drug prohibition -- the bill calls on the commission to make specific finding regarding:

  • Reasons for increase in the US incarceration rate compared to historical standards;
  • Incarceration and other policies in similar democratic, western countries;
  • Prison administration policies, including the availability of pre-employment training programs and career progression for guards and prison administrators;
  • Costs of current incarceration policies at the federal, state & local level;
  • The impact of gang activities, including foreign syndicates;
  • Drug policy and its impact on incarceration, crime and sentencing;
  • Policies as they relate to the mentally ill;
  • The historical role of the military in crime prevention and border security;
  • Any other area that the Commission deems relevant.

Sen. Webb is also looking for policy change recommendations on drug policy, reentry programs for ex-offenders, prison reforms, and how better to deal with international and domestic criminal organizations.

That Webb should introduce such a sweeping bill comes as little surprise given his history of interest in the field. In 2007, he led a Joint Economic Committee hearing on mass incarceration, and last year, he led another Joint Economic Committee hearing on the economic cost of drug policy, as well as returning to the theme on various other occasions.

The bill does not yet have a number.

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Lets Review the Legality of All Laws & Gov't Systems!

It is afterall how we got into this illegal marijuana prohibition mess in the first place... allowing unlawful laws to flourish and negate inalienable rights!

Look at every manmade disease... from human bondage... to all the contributing factors leading to cognitive dissonance disorder... and you'll find 2 deviant factors... the blatant disregard of self-evident truths by the proponents of gods and gov'ts... in favor of their own theoretical and philisophical goals... no matter how delusional or fact defying!

I'm Pro Choice On Everything... and I CHOOSE REALITY!

Senator Jim Webb

I have not the words to express my respect and admiration for the Honorable Jim Webb and all of his efforts in the United States Senate. If we had forty-nine others like him perhaps things would start to improve in this out of whack country and maybe we would commence the process of re-gaining respect and goodwill from around the world. I urge him to continue his good work and wish him the best.

Comment to Jim Webb

Dear Jim,

You are making it possible for people like me to again take pride in saying "I am a Virginian". In a state that ranks near the bottom when it comes to prisoner reentry into society once their time and restitution have been fulfilled, I urge you to help lead the important gubernatorial fight we have coming...we need your leadership.

reviewing our current justice system !

Iam excited that there is a member of our senate who is wise enough to see this as a problem to be dealt with and gettting people talking about it in the Senate ! A good start would to review our drug laws ,I know certain drugs would and should not be legal however lets start with the most ridiculious one that people should never serve prison time for and thats pot . Less harmfull then drinking ,the only violence involving this drug is due to its legal statusthat creates a huge underground market, that is making millions/billlions of $ per year ! This $ could be taxed and used in so many benificial ways ,if we where only wise enough to drop the old school thinking on this drug and look at it for whati it is . A natural grown plant product hat creates a high far less intense then drinking does and does not have near the health problems that are created by heavy drinking ! Lets start to give back the rights to people to decide with some regulation what drug they take and stop locking up these non-violent offenders with dangerous hardcore criminials!

sign the "Legalize marijuana, end the "War on Drugs'" petition!

The Drug War has been an incredibly expensive failure since it's inception. Meanwhile, millions of our citizens have been incarcerated for using drugs. Marijuana laws are more harmful to people and families than the drug itself. I think we need to end this folly.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/26/legalize-marijuana-and-end-the-sensele...

MAMA.Org

This goes far beyond the Marijuana laws but could enable the drug dealer's to get a slap on the hand. When the pro-methadone supporters are urging their followers to make sure each one's senator is supporting this direction then signals should be going off here. My concerns are the crack/cocaine dealers who are packing guns and often do commit other crimes as well. We have a serious drug problem in this country and no not all deserve incarceration. But, will such laws define the gang member between the simple pot smoker. Will this allow the drug smugglers to get a "get out of jail free" card? I do agree that there needs to be some serious overhauling of our system but we must be very careful that it does not become a loop whole for criminals to abuse.

MAMA.Org

This goes far beyond the Marijuana laws but could enable the drug dealer's to get a slap on the hand. When the pro-methadone supporters are urging their followers to make sure each one's senator is supporting this direction then signals should be going off here. My concerns are the crack/cocaine dealers who are packing guns and often do commit other crimes as well. We have a serious drug problem in this country and no not all deserve incarceration. But, will such laws define the gang member between the simple pot smoker. Will this allow the drug smugglers to get a "get out of jail free" card? I do agree that there needs to be some serious overhauling of our system but we must be very careful that it does not become a loop hole for criminals to abuse.

MAMA.Org

This goes far beyond the Marijuana laws but could enable the drug dealer's to get a slap on the hand. When the pro-methadone supporters are urging their followers to make sure each one's senator is supporting this direction then signals should be going off here. My concerns are the crack/cocaine dealers who are packing guns and often do commit other crimes as well. We have a serious drug problem in this country and no not all deserve incarceration. But, will such laws define the gang member between the simple pot smoker. Will this allow the drug smugglers to get a "get out of jail free" card? I do agree that there needs to be some serious overhauling of our system but we must be very careful that it does not become a loop hole for criminals to abuse.

Reform

On the turn of the 20th century there were 10,000 laws on the books in America and could be carried under ones arm. Today we could not fit all the laws on the books in 2 railroad cars, and yet you people scramble for new laws to deal with the Madoffs,AIG, Banks, Wall street...its endlless and pathetic..Now with 2.6 million people in prison, 1 out of 32 individuals are under some kind of probation or incarceration. Were building new prisons faster and stronger than schools...Our new president was elected based upon change..and cannabis is a Large one. Now he laughs at its recommendations to help with the economy..Hemp has been around for 9000 years..& has tons of uses, and Has..Killed..Noone.. but interferes with the past Hearsts, Duponts, Monsanto, and many other Chemical companies that have a hold on Lots of our Washington leaders...There are Millions of us Marijuana Smokers, it helps lots of us with taking our minds off some pain, smiles on our faces. compared to the Damaging effects of every Drug designed by the chemical Companies...Alcohol& Cigarettes cause just as much cancer, as these drugs. I just can't help to think that if we didn't get cancer, how would chemical companies, doctors, hmos survive...We are what we eat, drink & smoke. We Aren't stopping or Going away..Prohibition proves just that..

doctors?

I remember seeing very few cancer patients compared the the people coming in all the time when they got a sniffle! In twenty years of practice, I probably saw less than fifty cancer patients! Doctors would not "go broke" if a cure was discovered. They get plenty of people wasting doctor visits for nothing more than a self limiting disease! And, they also spend plenty of time treating the chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, etc. What makes you think that doctors would not welcome the cure of cancer, too. We don't want to watch our loved ones die, from it, any more than anyone else!

But, you are not wrong that government control is a big part of the problem! You just don't seem to understand how much the government controls your doctors, and the medical care they provide!

Doctors are the smallest wheel in the machine!

No good reason

There is no good reason for sanctions against adults who choose to smoke marijuana in the privacy of their own home on their own time. When my family gets together, the adults all stand around the kitchen, drinking a beer or two, "openly in front of the children." Are my nieces and nephews going to grow up to be alcoholics? I extremely doubt it. So would legalizing marijuana for adults 'send the wrong message" to our children, or would it, like I think my family does with alcohol, set an example of how to handle the freedom to use such substances?

Why should my only choice of substance be alcohol, which has tons of calories, and makes me sleepy and uncoordinated? I would much prefer to be allowed to smoke pot-no calories, no loss of functioning (I mean NO loss f functioning!), no health consequences (at age 50 and 35 years of pot smoking I should know!) and no risk of addiction (as if I could ever like alcohol enough to become addicted-ha ha).

I wrote him a letter. You should too.

I basically told him he was a giant vagina for calling for a "review" of laws, rather than calling for a moratorium on arrests & prosecutions of non-violent marijuana "offenders" (be they users, dealers, cultivators, or whatever).

We already know what the review will come back with (unless it's as retarded and corrupt as the official 9/11 investigation), so why continue ruining good peoples' lives? Just to save face? Pussies.

If he really gave a shit, he would call for said moratorium. Just another hack if you ask me.

WE NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT

WE NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE UNFAIR SENTANCING PRACTICES OF A LOT OF vA. JUDGES.PRE 1995 THE JUDGES KNEW THAT A PRISONER WOULD ONLY SERVE A PORTION OF THE SENTANCE TERM SO THEY ADDED YEARS TO A SENTANCE TO MAKE UP FOR THIS. THEN WE TOOK AWAY PAROLE AND PUT IN MANDATORY MINIMUMS ALONG WITH TRUTH IN SENTANCING MEANING PRISONERAS HAD TO DO THE FULL SENTANCE OR THE MAJORITY WITH NO WAY TO EARN CREDIT TO REDUCE THE TIME IN ANY WAY WE ALSO STOPPED PAROLING THE MAJORITY THAT FELL UNDER OLD LAW. WHAT WE FORGOT TO DO IS RAINE IN THOSE BIG SENTANCE JUDGES AND THEY CONTINUED TO GIVE HEAVY SENTANCING .NOW WHAT WE HAVE ARE NON VIOLANT OFFENDERS WITH 30 YEAR SENTANCES FOR THINGS LIKE THEFT OR DRUG POSSESION JUST A ADDICT TRYING TO SEVIVE. DOING MORE TIME THAN KILLERS, RAPIST, AND CHILD MOLESTERS i HAVE SEEN THIS TIME AFTER TIME IN THE STATE OF vA.

A CHILD MOLESTER AS LONG AS THERE WAS NO PENITRATION COULD BE FILED UNDER A MISDERMEANER AND THAT IS CRAZY IT ONLY CARRIES 5 YEARS OR SO.

SO AN ADDICT GOES AWAY FOR A BIG PORTION OF HIS LIFE AND THE CHILD MOLESTRER GETS OUT AND DOES IT AGAIN.

WE SHOULD BE SEEKING BETTER TREATMENT FOR ADDICTS IT IS AN ILLNESS.
WE SHOULD ALSO PUT IN PLACE INSENTIVES TO BEHAVE AND NOT RESIST THAT TREATMENT REWARD THEM FOR THE GOOD THINGS THEY LEARN TO DO THAT MAY GIVE THEM ENOUGH HOPE TO WANT TO CHANGE. AND NOT FILL HOPELESS AND TRAPPED SO ASKING THEMSELVES WHY SHOULD I CHANGE OR DO RIGHT IM STUCK IN HERE ANYWAYS.

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