Apr 29 2015

Graham Backs National Criminal Justice Commission

Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has cosponsored the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation that would create a National Criminal Justice Commission to review the criminal justice system from top to bottom and propose reforms to address serious issues facing our nation’s criminal justice system.

The legislation would establish a 14-member, bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission charged with completing an 18-month, comprehensive review of the national criminal justice system, including federal, state, local, and tribal criminal justice systems, and with issuing recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices and laws to reduce crime, increase public safety, and promote confidence in the criminal justice system. The Commission would be made up of Presidential and Congressional appointees, including experts on law enforcement, criminal justice, victims’ rights, civil liberties, and social services.

“This is a long overdue measure,” said Graham, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee. “The men and women representing law enforcement understand the need for this legislation, and I appreciate them pushing Congress to move forward on this important issue. I think the nation will be better off with this essential top-to-bottom review of the most pressing issues facing our nation’s criminal justice system.”

Recent incidents and civil unrest have highlighted the need for a top-to-bottom evaluation of our criminal justice system. The transparent and bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission would provide a better understanding of community relationships with law enforcement and the administration of justice through our court system, and identify effective policies to address a broad range of issues in the criminal justice system including crime reduction, incarceration, and prisoner reentry.

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2015 is supported by a broad coalition of criminal justice organizations, including law enforcement, crime victims, and criminal justice reform advocates.

Endorsements for the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2015 include:

Jonathan F. Thompson, Executive Director and CEO of the National Sheriffs’ Association said:

“The National Sheriffs’ Association applauds Senators Peters, Graham and Cornyn for introducing this bill to establish a National Criminal Justice Commission. We believe it is in the best interest of the nation to have a transparent system going forward.”

Fraternal Order of Police National President Chuck Canterbury said:

“The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended that Congress establish a national commission of law enforcement and other experts to review and examine all facets of our nation's criminal justice systems to improve our national justice system. The FOP agrees and we support legislation introduced by Senators Peters, Graham and Cornyn that would establish such a commission. The commission will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the administration of justice in our nation today and make recommendations which have the unanimous support of the commission. The goal here is to improve not only policing in the U.S., but our nation's criminal justice system as a whole.”

Association of Prosecuting Attorneys President and CEO David LaBahn said:

“The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys - the only national prosecutors association to represent and support prosecutors and their deputies at the local, county, state and federal level - strongly supports the introduction of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act. It has been 50 years since there was a holistic review of the national criminal system and this effort is long overdue. We applaud Senators Peters, Graham and Cornyn for the introduction of this crucial legislation.”

Chief Richard Beary, President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) said:

“I commend Senators Peters, Cornyn, and Graham for introducing this important legislation. For over 20 years, the IACP has called for the creation of a National Commission on Criminal Justice to develop across-the-board improvements to the criminal justice system, in order to address current challenges and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire criminal justice community. The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2015 will do just that. It is imperative that we explore all aspects of the criminal justice system and determine what needs to be revamped and develop a strong set of recommendation to address the broad range of new and emerging challenges that confront law enforcement today.”