Politics

House Introduces New Criminal Justice Reform Bill

A new criminal justice reform bill was introduced in the House Thursday, an important development in the quickly growing criminal justice reform discussion.

Republican House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Democrat John Conyers announced the criminal justice reform bill Thursday that cuts many mandatory minimums, including for low-level drug offenders.

The bill is a companion bill to the promising criminal justice reform bill introduced in the Senate. The bills are similar and both prioritize reducing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses.

Under both bills, the mandatory life sentence under the “three strikes” rule would be reduced to 25 years.

“We have been working for months to identify solutions on issues such as over-criminalization, sentencing reform, prison and reentry reform, improved criminal procedures and policing strategies, and civil asset forfeiture reform,” Goodlatte said in a statement.

Some of the issues mentioned there, such as civil asset forfeiture, are expected to be introduced in future bills in the coming months. A Goodlatte aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation his office is working on several bills to address different criminal justice reforms.

In the House bill some of the mandatory minimum reductions would apply retroactively to inmates, shortening their sentences. The House bill also increases penalties for trafficking Fentanyl, a powerful and increasingly popular drug.

“We really are at a zenith of momentum for criminal justice reform,” Holly Harris, executive director of the reform-seeking U.S. Justice Action Network, said in a statement. “In one remarkable week, leaders on both sides of the aisle in both chambers have presented significant sentencing reforms that can safely reduce the federal prison population and astronomical costs to taxpayers.”

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