Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, bipartisan legislation that would task a National Criminal Justice Commission to assess the entire criminal justice system and propose reforms to address the most pressing issues.
“When our criminal justice system last underwent a top-to-bottom analysis in 1965, several monumental improvements were made, including the establishment of the 9-1-1 system,” said Senator Collins. “More than 50 years later, it is time for another review. This bipartisan bill would create a commission to review our nation’s entire criminal justice system, helping to ensure that the brave men and women in law enforcement are using the best practices and trainings available to keep our communities safe and to protect their own well-being.”
The legislation was also introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).
The legislation would create 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 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. The transparent and bipartisan commission would also 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 last comprehensive review of the criminal justice system was conducted in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson created the Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. The 1965 Commission’s report offered over 200 recommendations that have shaped the current criminal justice system, including the creation of the 9-1-1 system, establishment of research organizations like the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and improved training and professionalization for law enforcement.
The National Criminal Justice Commission Act is supported by a broad coalition of criminal justice organizations, including law enforcement and criminal justice reform advocates.