Many of our criminal justice policies are good; they protect our loved ones and communities. At the same time, far too many of our laws are ineffective or do more harm than good. I am committed to reforming criminal justice so that it is sensible, effective and consistent with our notions of equality and fairness.
Key Justice Initiatives
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and its Task Force on Over-Criminalization, I am urging reforms that will improve criminal justice. I believe we could drastically reduce prison overcrowding by repealing harsh mandatory minimums and reserving the toughest sentences for serious criminals who threaten public safety. We should invest in community-oriented crime prevention and intervention efforts for struggling neighborhoods and at-risk youth. In addition, we need to ensure that those who have paid their debt to society have reentry services and opportunities to live productive lives.
- Identifying criminal justice policies that are discriminatory or counterproductive
- Focusing resources on community-oriented services to help at-risk youth and neighborhoods
- Advocating for reentry services to help ex-offenders become productive citizens
- “SUCCESS Act” (H.R. 3510)—Repeals the law that strips young people of needed college aid after being convicted of even minor drug offenses
- “Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act” (H.R.1318)—Supports juvenile delinquency and gang prevention and intervention to help build individual, family and community strength
- “Student Disciplinary Fairness Act” (H.R. 3153)—Establishes an Office of School and Discipline Policy to reduce the number of children incarcerated based on activity at school
- Universal "RESPECT Act” (H.R. 3560)—Prohibits federal law enforcement from engaging in racial profiling
- “Smarter Sentencing Act” (H.R. 3382)—Reduces certain 20-year, 10-year and 5-year mandatory-minimum drug sentences to 10, 5 and 2 years. It also permits federal prisoners imprisoned for crack offenses to seek fairer punishments
- “Justice Safety Valve Act” (H.R. 1695)—Allows a court to sentence below the mandatory minimum if the mandatory minimum is too harsh
Criminal Justice Issues in California’s 37th District
More on Criminal Justice
In their letter, the Members wrote, “Despite continuing concerns from civil rights and community-based organizations, the Department has sharply curtailed its statutory role in identifying and eradicating civil rights abuses by law enforcement. Excessive force in police-civilian encounters presents a crisis of trust throughout our nation. Changes to Department policy and failure to uphold the law run the risk of undermining federal oversight authority in this space…Accordingly, we write to request information related to the manner in which the Department of Justice is cur
Providing formerly incarcerated individuals with the tools to effectively reintegrate into society is essential in preventing recidivism. One in three American adults currently has a criminal record. Unfortunately, over two-thirds of formerly-incarcerated people are rearrested within three years. Removing collateral consequences, including barriers to employment, education, and benefits, is one way to address this troubling trend.
“On April 8, 2019, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice announced the selection of the Hudson Institute to host the Independent Review Committee required under the First Step Act. After the announcement, the Department briefed Congressional staff on implementation of the First Step Act, and our concerns about this decision remain.
“First, William Barr put out a 19-paged audition memo calling Robert Mueller’s investigation ‘overly aggressive’ and ‘fatally misconceived’. After being sworn in, Attorney General Barr released an unwarranted summary, which included cherry-picked quotes from the report that was then redacted and publicly released today, only after having been shared with White House lawyers and spun by a misleading 30-minute press conference.
Speech as prepared:
Rep. Bass joins Jim Sciutto on CNN:
Rep. Bass joins Craig Melvin on MSNBC:
“I am pleased that the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is holding our first hearing of this 116th Congress about our critical duty to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. This law has been successful at attempting to change policies that have led to injustices, and too-often indifference to victimization and suffering, throughout our country’s history.
“It is important to review how we arrived at this moment.