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After reading SB714, (SENATE BILL 714) What are the advantages and disadvantages of this proposed bill? Remember to respond to 2 other student’s postsStudents post #1:The biggest advantage I see to this bill is the decrease in prison populations and the overcrowded conditions that make the news occasionally. This will cause a reduction in costs to run the correctional facilities, or at least it should. But government agencies such as the Dept of Corrections in any state are much like all government run programs, they always need more money and claim they don’t get enough to do their jobs properly. A decrease in prison population would also have to correspond with a decrease in budget as well to really show any savings. A disadvantage would be with decreased sentences or just a fine system for non violent offenders, some of the incentive not to commit a crime is removed. There is no real plan to decrease the amount of recidivism, which is probably one of the biggest reasons for the size of some prison populations.Students post #2:This bill is created to tackle the growing issues of crime in different aspects. It is an advantage to try and minimize the issues and problems created with crime. It is proposed that a committee be assigned to research and report its findings to the public. The committee would pinpoint flaws that are in our criminal justice system and recommend changes for improvement. The public society may suffer with these changes because most likely the funding for this program will come from another program that could not afford the cut in funding. Going through this deficit may hinder this bill from being passed.” SENATE BILL 714:CONGRESS1ST SESSION S. 714To establish the National Criminal Justice Commission.IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATESMARCH 26, 2009Mr. WEBB (for himself, Mr. SPECTER, Mr. REID, Mr. LEAHY, Mr. DURBIN,Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. SCHUMER, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. WYDEN, Mr. BROWN,Mr. WARNER, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, Mr. BURRIS, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr.CARDIN, and Mrs. MCCASKILL) introduced the following bill; which wasread twice and referred to the Committee on the JudiciaryA BILLTo establish the National Criminal Justice Commission.1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘National Criminal Jus5tice Commission Act of 2009’’.6 SEC. 2. FINDINGS.7 Congress finds the following:8 (1) The United States has the highest reported9 incarceration rate in the world, imprisoning a higher10 percentage of its population than any other country.VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS2•S 714 IS1 The American incarceration rate is five times the2 world’s average incarceration rate. A total of3 2,380,000 people are in prison.4 (2) Although criminal justice laws and legal5 procedures depend heavily on State and local law,6 and although a majority of those imprisoned in the7 United States are held in non-Federal institutions,8 the conditions under which Americans are incarcer9ated and the manner in which former inmates reen10ter society is a compelling national interest that po11tentially affects every American citizen and every lo12cality in the country.13 (3) The American public and their elected offi14cials at all levels of government overwhelmingly sup15port the punishment and incarceration of violent16 criminals, as well as those who direct and participate17 in criminal enterprises.18 (4) Minorities make up a disproportionately19 large share of prison populations. Black males have20 a 32 percent chance of serving time in prison at21 some point in their lives; Hispanic males have a 1722 percent chance; white males have a 6 percent23 chance.24 (5) The number of persons on probation and25 parole has been growing along with institutionalVerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS3•S 714 IS1 populations. There are 7,300,000 Americans incar2cerated or on probation or parole, equal to 1 in3 every 31 adults, an increase of 290 percent since4 1980.5 (6) The number of exoffenders returning to6 their communities from Federal and State prisons7 rose to 725,000 in 2007, an increase of 19.9 percent8 since 2000, and a more than doubling in the past 29 decades. On average, 2 out of every 3 released pris10oners will be rearrested and 1 in 2 will return to11 prison within 3 years of release.12 (7) Spending on corrections consumes an in13creasingly large portion of resources at all levels of14 government. Corrections expenditures compete with15 and diminish funding for education, public health,16 public safety, parks and recreation, and programs17 specifically designed to reduce the prison population.18 An analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts found19 that over the past 20 years, inflation-adjusted state20 spending on corrections rose 127 percent while high21er education expenditures rose just 21 percent.22 (8) The National Gang Threat Assessment re23ports that there are approximately 1,000,000 gang24 members in the United States. According to report25ing by local law enforcement, gangs commit ‘‘asVerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS4•S 714 IS1 much as 80 percent of the crime in some locations’’.2 Gangs are primary retail distributors of illicit drugs,3 some of which operate at the regional or national4 level. According to the 2008 National Drug Threat5 Survey, 58 percent of law enforcement agencies re6port gang involvement in drug distribution.7 (9) The combination of gang activity and the8 movement of illegal drugs into the country has re9sulted in unprecedented levels of sophisticated, orga10nized violence along America’s southern border and11 in hundreds of American communities. More than12 6,000 people died in Mexico in 2008 alone as a re13sult of drug-related violence.14 (10) Despite high incarceration rates for drug15related offenses, illicit drug availability remains con16sistent. 86 percent of high school students report17 that it is ‘‘very easy’’ or ‘‘fairly easy’’ to obtain18 marijuana. 47 percent report the same for cocaine,19 39 percent for crack, and 27 percent for heroin.20 (11) Those addicted to and abusive of illicit21 drugs are an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the drug22 using population, but account for an estimated half23 of all illicit drug consumption. Treating addiction24 will significantly help decrease demand.VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS5•S 714 IS1 (12) Drug offenders in prisons and jails have2 increased 1200 percent since 1980. Nearly a half3 million persons are in Federal or State prison or4 local jail for a drug offense, compared to an esti5mated 41,100 in 1980. A significant percentage of6 these offenders have no history of violence or high7level drug selling activity.8 (13) Prisons and jails nationwide have become9 holding facilities for the mentally ill. There are an10 estimated 350,000 men and women in prisons and11 jails with serious mental disorders. Approximately 412 times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than13 in mental health hospitals. Prisoners are 2 to 414 times more likely than the general population to be15 schizophrenic, depressed, bipolar, or suffering from16 post-traumatic stress disorder. Approximately 7317 percent of mentally ill inmates suffer from a sub18stance abuse disorder.19 (14) Prisons have become public health risks.20 The number of State prisoners with HIV is 2.521 times greater than the general population. The num22ber of State prisoners with hepatitis C is 9 times23 that of the general population.24 (15) Prison administration is uneven, lacking25 clear, affirmative standards of training and perform-VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS6•S 714 IS1 ance, varying greatly from institution to institution,2 locality to locality, and among Federal, State and3 local jurisdictions.4 (16) According to a 2007 Bureau of Justice5 Statistics survey, an estimated 60,500 inmates (or6 4.5 percent of all Federal and State inmates) experi7enced 1 or more incidents of sexual victimization in8volving other inmates or staff. Analyses suggest that9 official records of assault in prison (both physical10 and sexual) only reflect 10 to 20 percent of all as11saults in prison.12 SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION.13 There is established a commission to be known as the14 ‘‘National Criminal Justice Commission’’ (referred to in15 this Act as the ‘‘Commission’’).16 SEC. 4. PURPOSE OF THE COMMISSION.17 The Commission shall undertake a comprehensive re18view of the criminal justice system, make findings related19 to current Federal and State criminal justice policies and20 practices, and make reform recommendations for the21 President, Congress, and State governments to improve22 public safety, cost-effectiveness, overall prison administra23tion, and fairness in the implementation of the Nation’s24 criminal justice system.VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS7•S 714 IS1 SEC. 5. REVIEW AND FINDINGS.2 (a) GENERAL REVIEW.—The Commission shall re3view all areas of Federal and State criminal justice costs,4 practices, and policies.5 (b) SPECIFIC FINDINGS.—In conducting the review,6 the Commission shall make such findings as it deems ap7propriate, including—8 (1) the statistical areas of increase in the9 United States incarceration rate compared to histor10ical standards of incarceration in the United States11 and the reasons for this increase;12 (2) a comparison of incarceration policies, in13cluding juvenile incarceration policies, in countries14 with similar political systems including Western Eu15rope and Japan, denoting the different standards16 applied for types of crime, length of sentences,17 standards of prison administration, quality of re18entry programs for exoffenders, and recidivism rates;19 (3) an examination of prison administration20 policies at the Federal, State, and local levels, to in21clude the availability and quality of preemployment22 training programs and the availability of meaningful23 career progression within the profession;24 (4) the costs of current incarceration policies at25 the Federal, State and local level, including the rel26evant costs of law enforcement, the proportion ofVerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS8•S 714 IS1 that cost associated with gangs and drug enforce2ment, the costs of constructing and administering3 prison facilities, the costs of post-incarceration su4pervision and reentry programs, and the cost of lost5 economic opportunities associated with the stigma of6 incarceration;7 (5) an examination of the impact of gang activi8ties in the United States, including the proportion of9 these activities that are directed by foreign-based10 gangs and syndicates, and outlining the impact of11 these activities in terms of violence, intimidation,12 and all areas of criminal activity;13 (6) an examination of current drug policy and14 its impact on incarceration, crime and violence, sen15tencing, and reentry programs, to include an anal16ysis of the general availability of drugs in our soci17ety, the impact and effectiveness of current policies18 on reducing that availability and on the incidence of19 crime, and in the case of criminal offenders, the20 availability of drug treatment programs before, dur21ing, and after incarceration;22 (7) an examination of the legal and administra23tive changes in policies regarding those who suffer24 from mental illness, including mandatory and vol25untary commitment to institutional care, the effec-VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS9•S 714 IS1 tiveness and availability of alternative methods of2 treatment, the impact of these policy changes on in3carceration, and the availability of government spon4sored or assisted programs to address mental illness;5 (8) an examination of the historic role of the6 military (active duty, National Guard, Coast Guard,7 and reserve forces), in the prevention of crime, the8 apprehension of criminals, the protection of Amer9ican citizens, and the maintenance of stability along10 the national borders; and11 (9) any other area that the Commission in its12 judgment believes relevant to a full understanding of13 the present criminal justice system in the United14 States.15 SEC. 6. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.16 (a) RECOMMENDATIONS.—After conducting a review17 of the United States criminal justice system and making18 findings as required by section 5, the Commission shall19 make recommendations for changes in policies and laws20 designed to—21 (1) refocus incarceration policies to reduce the22 overall incarceration rate while preserving public23 safety, cost-effectiveness, and societal fairness;VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS10•S 714 IS1 (2) decrease prison violence, with particular ref2erence to protecting those incarcerated from physical3 abuse;4 (3) improve prison administration, including5 Federal standards of competence and the creation of6 a career path for prison administrators;7 (4) institute the use of policies and practices8 proven effective throughout the spectrum of criminal9 behavior;10 (5) establish a system for the reintegration of11 exoffenders that provides productive skills and op12portunities and improves communities’ ability to as13similate former offenders;14 (6) restructure the approach to criminalization15 of, and incarceration as a result of the possession or16 use of illegal drugs, decreasing the demand for illicit17 drugs, and improving the treatment for addiction;18 (7) improve and streamline the treatment of19 mental illness, both in our society and in the crimi20nal justice system;21 (8) improve Federal and local responses to22 international and domestic criminal activity and vio23lence carried out by gangs, cartels, and syndicates,24 particularly in relation to drug smuggling and dis25tribution; andVerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS11•S 714 IS1 (9) improve and reform any other aspect of the2 United States criminal justice system the Commis3sion determines is required.4 (b) COORDINATION WITH INTERNATIONAL AND DO5MESTIC GOVERNMENT AND NONGOVERNMENT REP6RESENTATIVES.—The Commission shall—7 (1) consult with government and nongovern8mental leaders, including State and local law en9forcement officials; and10 (2) include in its final report required by sub11section (c) summaries of the input and recommenda12tions of these leaders based on the recommendations13 required by subsection (a).14 (c) REPORT.—15 (1) REPORT.—Not later than 18 months after16 the selection of the chair and the Executive Director17 of the Commission, the Commission shall prepare18 and submit a final report that contains a detailed19 statement of findings, conclusions, and recommenda20tions of the Commission to Congress and the Presi21dent.22 (2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The report sub23mitted under this subsection shall be made available24 to the public.VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS12•S 714 IS1 SEC. 7. MEMBERSHIP.2 (a) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall be com3posed of 11 members, as follows:4 (1) One member shall be appointed by the5 President, who shall serve as Chairman of the Com6mission.7 (2) Two members appointed by the majority8 leader of the Senate, in consultation with the Chair9man of the Committee on Judiciary.10 (3) Two members appointed by the minority11 leader of the Senate, in consultation with the rank12ing member of the Committee on Judiciary.13 (4) Two members appointed by the Speaker of14 the House of Representatives, in consultation with15 the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary.16 (5) Two members appointed by the minority17 leader of the House of Representatives, in consulta18tion with the ranking member of the Committee on19 Judiciary.20 (6) One member appointed by the Chairman of21 the Republican Governors Association.22 (7) One member appointed by the Chairman of23 the Democratic Governors Association.24 (b) MEMBERSHIP.—25 (1) QUALIFICATIONS.—The individuals ap26pointed from private life as members of the Commis-VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS13•S 714 IS1 sion shall be individuals who are nationally recog2nized for expertise, knowledge, or experience in such3 relevant areas as—4 (A) law enforcement;5 (B) criminal justice;6 (C) national security;7 (D) prison administration;8 (E) prisoner reentry;9 (F) public health, including drug addiction10 and mental health;11 (G) victims’ rights; and12 (H) social services.13 (2) DISQUALIFICATION.—An individual shall14 not be appointed as a member of the Commission if15 such individual possesses any personal or financial16 interest in the discharge of any of the duties of the17 Commission.18 (3) TERMS.—Members shall be appointed for19 the life of the Commission.20 (c) APPOINTMENT; INITIAL MEETING.—21 (1) APPOINTMENT.—Members of the Commis22sion shall be appointed not later than 45 days after23 the date of the enactment of this Act.VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS14•S 714 IS1 (2) INITIAL MEETING.—The Commission shall2 hold its initial meeting on the date that is 60 days3 after the date of the enactment of this Act.4 (d) MEETINGS; QUORUM; VACANCIES.—5 (1) MEETINGS.—The Commission shall meet at6 the call of the chair or a majority of its members.7 (2) QUORUM.—Six members of the Commis8sion, including at least one member chosen by the9 minority leader of the Senate, minority leader of the10 House of Representatives, or Chairman of the Re11publican Governors Association, shall constitute a12 quorum for purposes of conducting business, except13 that 2 members of the Commission shall constitute14 a quorum for purposes of receiving testimony.15 (3) VACANCIES.—Any vacancy in the Commis16sion shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in17 the same manner in which the original appointment18 was made. If vacancies in the Commission occur on19 any day after 45 days after the date of the enact20ment of this Act, a quorum shall consist of a major21ity of the members of the Commission as of such22 day, so long as at least one Commission member23 chosen by a member of each party, Republican and24 Democratic, is present.25 (e) ACTIONS OF COMMISSION.—VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS15•S 714 IS1 (1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission—2 (A) shall act by resolution agreed to by a3 majority of the members of the Commission4 voting and present; and5 (B) may establish panels composed of less6 than the full membership of the Commission for7 purposes of carrying out the duties of the Com8mission under this title—9 (i) which shall be subject to the review10 and control of the Commission; and11 (ii) any findings and determinations12 made by such a panel shall not be consid13ered the findings and determinations of the14 Commission unless approved by the Com15mission.16 (2) DELEGATION.—Any member, agent, or staff17 of the Commission may, if authorized by the chair18 of the Commission, take any action which the Com19mission is authorized to take pursuant to this Act.20 SEC. 8. ADMINISTRATION.21 (a) TRAVEL EXPENSES.—Members shall receive trav22el expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in23 accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United24 States Code, while away from their homes or regularVerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS16•S 714 IS1 places of business in performance of services for the Com2mission.3 (b) STAFF.—4 (1) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.—The Commission5 shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director.6 The Executive Director shall be paid at a rate equiv7alent to a rate established for the Senior Executive8 Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States9 Code.10 (2) STAFF APPOINTMENT.—With the approval11 of the Commission, the Executive Director may ap12point such personnel as the Executive Director de13termines to be appropriate.14 (3) EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS.—With the15 approval of the Commission, the Executive Director16 may procure temporary and intermittent services17 under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.18 (4) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.—19 Upon the request of the Commission, the head of20 any Federal agency may detail, without reimburse21ment, any of the personnel of such agency to the22 Commission to assist in carrying out the duties of23 the Commission. Any such detail shall not interrupt24 or otherwise affect the civil service status or privi25leges of the Federal employee.VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS17•S 714 IS1 (5) OTHER RESOURCES.—The Commission2 shall have reasonable access to materials, resources,3 statistical data, and other information such Commis4sion determines to be necessary to carry out its du5ties from the Library of Congress, the Office of Na6tional Drug Control Policy, the Department of7 State, and other agencies of the executive and legis8lative branches of the Federal Government. The9 chair of the Commission shall make requests for10 such access in writing when necessary. The Office of11 National Drug Control Policy shall make office12 space available for day-to-day Commission activities13 and for the scheduled quarterly full Commission14 meetings.15 (c) OBTAINING OFFICIAL DATA.—The Commission16 may secure directly from any agency of the United States17 information necessary to enable it to carry out this Act.18 Upon the request of the Chair of the Commission, the19 head of that department or agency shall furnish that infor20mation to the Commission.21 (d) MAILS.—The Commission may use the United22 States mails in the same manner and under the same con23ditions as other departments and agencies of the United24 States.VerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS18•S 714 IS1 SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.2 (a) IN GENERAL.—There are authorized to be appro3priated for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 such sums are as4 necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.5 (b) AVAILABILITY.—Any sums appropriated under6 the subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal7 year limitation, until expended.8 SEC. 10. SUNSET.9 The Commission shall terminate 60 days after it sub10mits its report to Congress.ÆVerDate Nov 24 2008 03:39 Mar 27, 2009 Jkt 079200 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6301 E:BILLSS714.IS S714 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with BILLS
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