Jim Webb’s Criminal Justice Overhaul Commission Blocked Again In Senate

Sen. Jim Webb’s effort to reform criminal justice in the United States has once again been blocked in the Senate.

More about the bill

On Thursday afternoon, the proposed National Criminal Justice Commission Act, which the Democratic senator from Virginia put forward as an amendment to a wide-ranging appropriations bill, failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster. The vote was 57-43.

Webb’s bill would establish a bipartisan commission charged with taking a hard look at the drug war and prison overcrowding, among other criminal justice issues, at the national, state, local and tribal levels. Its findings and recommendations would then be released in the first comprehensive report since 1965 on the state of criminal justice in America.

Webb first introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act in 2009, only to have it blocked in late 2010 for procedural reasons.

“Today Senate Republicans blocked an important opportunity to make our criminal justice system more fair and effective,” Webb said in a statement released Thursday by his press office. “Their inflammatory arguments defy reasonable explanation and were contradicted by the plain language of our legislation. To suggest, for example, that the non-binding recommendations of a bipartisan commission threaten the Constitution is absurd.”

The bill is supported by organizations across the political spectrum, from the NAACP and the ACLU to the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

When Webb first introduced the legislation, many wondered whether the commission’s inquiry would lead to legalization of marijuana. In interviews, the senator found the prospect “a very legitimate question” for the commission to consider.

In his statement Thursday, Webb vowed that he would not give up on the National Criminal Justice Commission Act. “After years of building the case for reform, we have earned the trust and support of advocates across the philosophical and political spectrum. We will not back down. We will keep fighting for a comprehensive review of the justice system, with the help of the thousands of sheriffs, police, mayors and justice advocates who have joined us in pressing for reform.”

– Article from The Huffington Post.



  1. The Ghost of JFK on

    Republicans once again show that corruption and self interest are the primary interests of their party, not the interests or welfare of the nation. For a political party that rants endlessly about government spending and waste, they continously push an agenda that is the most wasteful and profligate domestic spending in the budget. The U.S. and Canada must find ways to reduce prison populations, not increase them. The cost of the criminal justice proceedings,construction of prisons, corrections officers, inmate housing and health care, rehabilitation programs and probation programs is threatening to become a fiscal tsunami that will swamp all government budgets in a sea of deficit spending and sharply curtailed services and benefits. With actual crime rates decreasing nationwide, it is time for a law enforcement “drawdown” that will save taxpayers billions of dollars and allow government budgets to get a big break from the financial crunch that all of them are suffering from. Police departments, Federal, State and local are overbudgeted, overstaffed, underutilized and much in need of downsizing.
    The hundreds of thousands of military veterans returning from overseas deployment and being mustered out of the service are coming home to a future of unemployment and bleak prospects. This will surely turn into a political liability for the GOP, as many military members support them but will sour on Republican politicians that can’t create jobs in their districts. Hiring large numbers of ex-servicemen and women into the law enforcement and corrections industries , which are well paying and stable jobs, will certainly enhance the politcal environment for conservatives. Going after potsmokers in a revived War on Drugs will be one of the cornerstones of the GOP platform in 2012. This is the conservative version of a government “make work” program. Watching America turn into a grim, dark place of police oppression, prisons, economic inequality, foreign wars and diminishing freedom is the bleak future laid out for us by Republicans. You have a choice right in front of you. You have the power of the Vote! If you don’t use it, you are handing the levers of power over to a group of people that despises you and will do everything in their power to take away your rights, your freedoms, even your life. They are trying to turn this entire nation into the United States of Texas. Look at the life of the average Texan – not pretty. People in that state have the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the country. They have the highest teen pregnancy rate , the highest high school dropout rate, the greatest percentage of the population incarcerated, the highest rate of taxation on the lower and middle classes, and some of the lowest rates of education funding in the country. They are little more than the U.S. version of China. Everyone talks about how the business climate there is so good; it should be. Corporations are given huge tax breaks, the power to run over local opposition to their operations, extraordinary rights and priviledges in the laws and the courts, and no state enforcement of pollution laws, workers rights or community planning. Just like in China. Who here would like to live in China? Not me – but it looks like that is where we are heading. Take back our streets and communities – Vote! Take back our cities and states – Vote! Take back our nation and our government – Vote! If you’re not registered or don’t vote, you are lying down before them so it will make it that much easier to run you over. This upcoming national election is nothing less than the turning point of the nation and the world. With the wrong people in power, this country could self-destruct in a matter of months. Republicans don’t care about you. Not unless you have $100,000 to contribute to their crooked organization.

  2. Vet on

    The act of keeping drugs illegal keeps the terrorists we fight well supplied, so logic dictates and proves any cop, judge, jailor, DA etc whom enforce the illegal laws are in fact Muslim Terrorists . . . odd that a Muslim Terrorist now days don’t have to be of the Islamic faith. The 1961 U.N. Single Convention was backed by the DOJ and made drugs illegal on a global scale, which is further evidence we are dealing with Muslim Terrorists. Everybody should know at least 50% of every wounded and killed soldier from today’s war comes from drug money and the same % for 9/11 . . . at least 50% for both. If this is false, then it’s illogical to assume Mexican drug cartels use drug money to fund their slaughter house. Everybody and their brother knows the Taliban and Hamas and PKK etc are drug cartels. The Muslim world encompasses more dope fields than the Latino world . . . the extremist took over most of the dealing and growing from the peace loving Muslims . . . its not uncommon for a loving little Muslim boy or girl to be raped to death for their parents illegal action of not growing dope, which would piss off the terrorists to do such an action in the first place . . . this means most of the DOJ and DOC are sex offenders since they know rape occurs and is more probable when dope money corrupts and frightens people and forces people with violence to be raped. In America, if you know a minor is being abused or raped and you do nothing and it’s proven you knew, you are charged with a felony. Destroying drug money will reduce countless thousands of new young victims each year from being raped and or turned into sex slaves, yet the DOJ are happy to let it happen. If we can force the world to adopt our drug policies, then surely we can reverse them or force the world to outlaw any form of currency via a computer chip placed in the hand or forehead to regulate the buying and selling of goods . . . this will greatly reduce drug money and save millions of lives.

  3. Anonymous on

    Prohibition funds paramilitary swat teams, for profit prisons get filled with passive non violent “criminals”, gives them an excuse to ramp up surveillance and other oppressive measures, saving them having to say “we’re scared of you”, instead they get to say “you’re probably doing something wrong”, which also takes the focus off their doing everything for corporations and nothing for the people.

    More directly, big pharm directly bought Obama, and every other politician, with campaign contributions.

    That’s why “tax it” argument are so damn funny. Even taxed prohibitively it will still lose them money, and lose them control, and generally is against their every corrupted interest. You can not win an argument logically when your oponent has absolutely no interest in the truth. It’s time to hammer home the concept of their treason and corruption.

  4. Atlanta Toker on

    These people work for the private prison systems in the United States.
    This is why they lobby for mandatory minimums. They cant make money if they arent putting Americans in jail. We house more prisoners in the USA than China and Russia combined.
    That should throw a lot of red flags but believe in the USA or they no longer care.

    The people in this country are trying to fight the financial community because they are no longer trust worthy (never were really).
    We’re fighting to try and save the republic that has become dysfunctional (intentionally).
    We’re fighting the government which we no longer control or even have access too because they are owned lock, stock and barrel by special interest, government contractors, defence contractors, and corporate America. Its all one big scam.

    Mark my word, the USA is sitting out here like a huge red white and blue powder keg and I guarantee you that the silliest nothing of a matter will set off one of the bloodiest civil wars to ever take place in the world. Its coming and I swear I think it might be right on the edge right now. I think we may have had enough.

  5. bhonze on

    The American Govt. are a bunch of scumbags! They will not legalize cannabis until the people force them too! Our govt. is making to much money off the drug war. That is why Obama changed his tune, he found out that currency is really based on weed and not the American dollar. If we legalize cannabis the dollar would fail!