Criminal justice reform has long been one of the Democrats’ main focal points, but they’ve let it slip into Republican hands. Rand Paul has emerged as its staunchest advocate.
In an interview with possible Democrat 2016 candidate Jim Webb explains how this came to be:
“Speaking of Rand Paul, one of the great ironies for me, having spent all this time on criminal justice reform, is how the Democrats have basically ceded this incredibly important issue to the Republicans, and Rand Paul’s the guy who’s been running with it.”
“If I had to look at two issues that I believe we should really put on the front of the burner, that cost us billions and marginalize people, the first is criminal justice reform.” (Reason)
Paul has also been chosen by a bipartisan watchdog group as a “Constitutional Champion” along with fellow senator from the Democrat party, Patrick Leahy.
In a blog post for Huffington Post from last week, president of The Constitution Project, Ginny Sloan praised the two senators and said they have:
“Both worked doggedly to build bipartisan consensus on a number of critical constitutional issues, like NSA spying.”
The two senators in February along with Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act in an effort to decrease the number of prisoners in the country. Right now, the U.S. has the largest prison population in the world.
The Act gives federal judges the power to grant lower sentences than required by the mandatory punishment if the sentence violates fair punishment standards per U.S. law.
In her post, Sloan wrote:
“The proposed legislation would allow federal judges to tailor sentences on a case-by-case basis, returning them to the constitutional duties we expect of them. Such judicial discretion would help reduce the bloated federal prison population, while also ensuring that sentences fairly fit the circumstances of the crime and the offender.” (HuffPost)
Senators Paul and Leahy will receive their Constitutional Champion awards along with Twitter, which was nominated for the company’s defense of the 1st Amendment, on April 22, at The Constitution Project’s annual gala.
(Photo courtesy of Rae Allen, CC BY 2.0)
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