Sens. Rand Paul and Cory Booker are teaming up to push criminal justice reform through the Senate.
Paul, the Republican senator and possible 2016 presidential candidate from Kentucky, and Booker, the Twitter-famous Democrat from New Jersey, are pushing the bill due to its focus on criminals’ lives after they leave prison. Both the first-term senators have been in the limelight since their election in 2012.
If the bill, called the REDEEM Act, passes, it will restore welfare for low-level drug dealers who have completed their sentences and automatically expunge the records of juvenile criminals convicted of nonviolent offenses. It will also limit punishments such as solitary confinement for minors.
Many senators are praising the bill for its focus on the rehabilitation of young criminals in an effort to keep them from becoming repeat offenders. Paul is also working on reforming drug sentencing laws and wants the government to lend a hand to past criminals looking for employment.
“I will work with anyone, from any party, to make a difference for the people of New Jersey and this bipartisan legislation does just that” Cory Booker said in a statement. Paul also added that the criminal justice system has kept many young people in a “cycle of poverty and incarceration.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has even praised Paul’s work on criminal justice reform, applauding his work for pushing to return voting rights to convicted criminals.
This new marriage between Paul and Booker is unusual, especially considering that Paul helped campaign for Booker’s Republican opponent in 2012. The two have put aside their differences, however, to push for the reform they feel is needed. Last month they also co-sponsored an amendment that would stop the government from going after medical marijuana dispensaries.