On Tuesday I had the great honor to hear from Senator Cory Booker about the need for criminal justice reform in our country. This is an issue that I care deeply about and something that I researched while I was interning on Capitol Hill this summer. The fact that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population while only accounting for 5% of the total world population is embarrassing.
There is lots of bipartisan support to try to reform many aspects of the justice system. The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, a bill that Senator Cory Booker co-sponsored, had support from both sides of the aisle including support from Senator Burr (NC-R) and Senator Tillis (NC-R). Booker said that the bills proposed in the House and Senate are small, but necessary steps in the right direction.
Now will Congress bring these bills to the floor when they get back form recces? Considering that there is not overwhelming pressure on Republicans in the majority to do anything, they might spend more energy on trying to pass a budget on time this year. Many Democrats argue that the bills that have been written for criminal justice reform don’t do enough. So for that reason, Democrats will probably want to wait until January to see if they can win seats in the Senate and gain the majority.
This should be an issue that is talked about more often as the we get closer to November 7th. There is no debate that there needs to be some type of action. Congress has the opportunity to come together and work with each other to accomplish this task. But for now, its great to see that senators like Cory Booker are talking about it.