The Need for a Federal Criminal Justice Commission


DNA exonerations don’t only free innocent people from prison; they also uncover systemic flaws in our criminal justice system. A proposed federal panel examining the system could be a key step toward preventing injustice nationwide.

Bills creating the Criminal Justice Commission, which would review the system and offer proposals for reform, are pending in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

A Los Angeles Times editorial

last week called on Congress to form the blue-ribbon panel, and recounted the recent exonerations of Frank Sterling and Raymond Towler as proof of the urgent need for reform. “The nation badly needs a coherent justice system based on best practices,” the editorial reads. “A national commission cannot form quickly enough for all the other innocent people languishing in prison. The measure is championed by Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and has drawn broad bipartisan support in Congress and from the criminal justice community. A recent

New York Times editorial

pointed out that it “is a rare cause in Washington that has the backing of the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the A.C.L.U. and the Marijuana Policy Project.”

We will post more about our efforts to support the creation of this commission in the weeks ahead. Read more detail on the bill



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