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Webb Criminal Justice Commission Passes House by Unanimous Consent

Big news from Washington today -- Senator Jim Webb's has just passed the US House of Representatives, by unanimous consent -- an important milestone that brings this important reevaluation of our dysfunctional policies in this area pretty darn close to being a reality.

Some of Sen. Webb's concerns that motivated the legislation -- shared no doubt by Rep. Bill Delahunt and his colleagues who championed the bill in the House -- from Webb's web page about the bill linked above:

  • With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners.
  • Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980.
  • Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.
  • Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S., many of them foreign-based; and Mexican cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country.
  • Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society.

Needless to say, my colleagues and I are psyched. Look for more details about the legislation and its prospects for the remaining stages in the legislative process in the Chronicle tomorrow or Thursday.

Update: In related news, the New York Times and the Washington Post this week and last called on Congress to address the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

"Looking for the easiest way

"Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!"

 Borden you are such a booster.

borden's picture

With your support...  :)

With your support...  :)

Drew B's picture

Good news

Great to hear. I had a feeling it would be a "go."


I also like the new look of the website. Great idea to include the taxonomy at the bottom of the pages too! (Go Drupal! :-)

wheels of justice can't turn any slower

Go Webb, GO, it's only two decades late but at least now we are going to re-evaluate, I guess that means look at it. People look at the numbers. Is the whole entire World wrong and we are right? First off non violent low level drug offenders shouldn't be in jail getting three squares and a cot, meanwhile they are losing their jobs getting deeper in debt can't pay child support or work and take care of their  families.  Non-Violent is the key to freeing a lot of our prison systems of overcrowding. there are other ways to make these offenders pay their debt. Community service to start and probably a hundred different things. I feel that if we don't have more criminals we don't need more police. The Police of this country have turned into an entity in itself. The rules are always bent for them they are the largest institution next to our military. Look we have given our freedom up somehow. Laws get made and I never even heard that there was a proposal that's because it was attached on some other law. I don't understand why the people of the USA don't realize that every new law made is one less right that you and I have. Where does it end I ask? where? I'll tell you We all (except those with money) will be in jail or on probation with the threat of prison over our heads. How about a crazy Idea let's go back through the old out of date meaningless laws and remove them?.......Oh no you don't take Laws back, that's right, that would mean that someone had been illegally prosecuted for the bone head law to start with. If people want to smoke Marijuana who am I to say your a criminal while I drink my cold beer. If you have never tried it don't knock it. Why do I have to be up in every ones lives trying to find the smallest thing to ruin a mans life. Yes, Change the policy but get rid of the old laws that have failed us and ruined so many lives and families. It's a terrible injustice we are doing to our fellow Americans. The Fifth Amendment was written to protect each man and woman from undue prosecution. But I am forced to give body fluids to the police for testing me and charging me with drug offense. I have the right not to incriminate myself! what the hell? There is no privacy no dignity  if that is not a direct violation of my fifth amendment right then what is? Or don't the police go by the constitution anymore? By Police I mean the justice dept. from bottom to the top. I have said my peace sorry for rambling>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Peace to all who have no intention of harming me or my family.

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