Friday, February 11, 2011

New Report on Federal Criminal Justice Reform

Innocence Blog
New Report on Federal Criminal Justice Reform
Posted: February 10, 2011 4:18 pm

Today, a coalition of the nation’s leading criminal justice reform organizations, including the Innocence Project, released “Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Administration and Congress, a comprehensive report that addresses the problems plaguing America’s criminal justice system.” By reviewing almost every major criminal justice issue, the report serves as both a source of information and a call to action for the Administration and Congress.

Underpinning all of the report’s recommendations is an acknowledgement that the current system is unsustainable. Smart on Crime contributors agreed that spiraling cost and a lack of system performance and success in a time of severe economic downturn is unacceptable.

In a call with reporters today, Kirk Bloodsworth, who served time on death row before he was exonerated by DNA evidence, stressed the need for continued funding for access to post-conviction DNA testing. He noted that he is aware of four people who were cleared thanks to federal funds and said, “Some things shouldn’t be cut during economic hardship; we shouldn’t be cutting programs that would help the innocent.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) reintroduced legislation to create a National Criminal Justice Commission, which is one of the report’s most vital recommendations. The Commission would be tasked with performing a comprehensive review of federal, state, local, and tribal criminal justice systems and making reform recommendations to Congress and the Administration.

The report was developed and published by the Smart on Crime Coalition, a group of more than 40 organizations and individuals, which assessed problems and developed nearly 100 detailed policy recommendations across 16 criminal justice areas.

Read more about Smart on Crime.

Read about the Webb bill to create a National Criminal Justice Task Force.

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