New House Criminal Justice Reform Bill Will Come As Early As This Week

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Casey Harper Contributor
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Looks like a new wrench will soon be thrown into the criminal justice reform debate.

An aide to Republican House Judiciary Charmain Bob Goodlatte told The Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday that Goodlatte is working on “several” criminal justice reform bills and that one could be introduced as early as this week.

A Goodlatte criminal justice reform bill would be a huge landmark for the quickly developing criminal justice reform movement in Congress.

Notably this year, Democrat Rep. Bobby Scott and Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the SAFE Justice Act, a wide ranging, comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that addresses everything from sentencing reform to the growing prison population to onerous regulations.

A Goodlatte aide told TheDCNF in early September that the representative would have a criminal justice reform bill introduced by the end of September. That deadline has come and gone, and since then the Senate has introduced a key bill that would reform prisons and reduce mandatory minimums.

The Senate bill has bipartisan support, including the all-important support of Republican Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who has been a vocal skeptic of these kinds of reforms in the past.

The Senate bill reduces a slew of mandatory minimums without making cuts as drastic as those voted on by Democrats in the last session. It also addresses a range of prison topics, including allowing prison guards to carry pepper spray and reducing solitary confinement for juveniles. The bill will have a hearing before an Oct. 22 markup.

With this stage set, a bill from Goodlatte in his key position of House Judiciary chairman would go a long way to show the House’s response on this issue and set the agenda going forward.

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