Deutch, Trone Introduce Bill Calling for Review of Nation’s Criminal Justice System
Bill Would Establish the National Criminal Justice Commission
U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (FL-22) and David Trone (MD-06) reintroduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, legislation that would assemble a commission of experts with experience in law enforcement, court administration, victims’ rights, civil rights, and social services to conduct a complete review of all facets of our criminal justice system. The bill comes after the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act last month, which included unprecedented reforms to transform the culture of policing by curbing police brutality, ending racial profiling, and increasing transparency and accountability.
It has been more than 50 years since a commission conducted a comprehensive review of our nation’s criminal justice system. Since then, the United States has become the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world, including approximately 6.74 million people – or approximately one in every 37 adults – being under some form of correctional supervision. The system overrepresents people of color, specifically Black Americans, who make up 40% of the incarcerated population but only represent 13% of the U.S. population. It has put a significant strain on federal, state, and local government budgets and resources, with over $109 billion per year in the United States going towards the criminal justice system.
“Our nation’s criminal justice system is badly in need of repair, and we are long overdue for a thorough examination," Congressman Deutch said. "Particularly in this moment when the country has come together to confront the systemic racism found in too many aspects of our policing and criminal justice systems, Congress must listen to our constituents and consider necessary changes to make our system more just and fair for all."
“We can draw a straight line from slavery, to Jim Crow, to mass incarceration and our broken criminal justice system,” said Congressman David Trone. “It’s critical that we understand how our criminal justice system is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color and work to eradicate these systemic injustices. The National Criminal Justice Commission will provide us with bipartisan recommendations to help us fix our justice system and change lives for the better.”
The National Criminal Justice Commission Act would create a bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission composed of 14-members, including Presidential and Congressional appointees, experts on law enforcement, criminal justice, civil liberties, and social services.
The Commission will be tasked with completing an 18-month review of the United States criminal justice system from federal, state, local, and tribal lenses, and provide recommendations for reforms to increase transparency and accountability in the system. Through this review, the Commission will also provide a deeper understanding of the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.