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Does the Criminal Justice System Need Sweeping Reforms?


Jim Webb, the former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan and current Democratic Senator from Virginia, wants to rehabilitate America's criminal justice system. So he's proposed a crime bill!

Webb's plan starts with creating a bipartisan commission to study the system for 18 months and come up with a concrete legislative reform plan of its own.

Webb points out urgent reasons for the legislation, which include:

  • About 25 percent of the world's prisoners live in the US, which only has five percent of the world's population.
  • The number of drug offenders in prison has jumped 1,200 percent since 1980.
  • Four times as many mentally ill people are in prison than in mental health hospitals.
  • Post-prison re-entry programs are often nonexistent and threaten public safety.

The crime bill has begun gaining support from both conservatives and liberals typically afraid of being labeled soft on crime.

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