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
"General Flynn is a good soldier that is very possibly falling on his sword for following orders given by the President,” Rep. Bass stated. “Flynn was always a poor choice for National Security Advisor, a role not suitable for someone who flirts loosely with the truth. Sean Spicer tried desperately to sweep this one under an already molding rug by labeling this as a ‘trust issue,’ but it’s becoming clear that this is much more than that. This is an issue of possible Russian collusion.”
"Kellyanne Conway’s comment yesterday regarding the president’s daughter’s clothing line was more than an unacceptable slip; it was a blatant violation of ethics and an abuse of power. I join the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight in a bipartisan call on the Office of Government Ethics to promptly recommend discipline for this remark, which was described in their joint letter as a clear and unacceptable violation of ethical principles for federal employees."
“The MERCY Act rightly calls attention to the need for smart reform and trauma-informed care for all justice-involved youth and is a necessary piece of legislation that aims to eliminate harmful and dangerous confinement practices for this vulnerable population,” Rep. Bass, a member of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, stated. “It is time we start addressing the underlying issues of trauma and abuse, as well as the emotionally damaging triggers of adolescent behaviors in a humane and medically informed way.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D – Calif.) cosponsored legislation that would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas, and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government and others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in this year’s U.S. elections.
It's not just the racist past of Sen. Sessions that makes him unfit to be Attorney General, it's his stance on current issues like immigration and police misconduct. It's about whether or not he would appropriately prosecute civil rights violations. See more of the interview below:
“The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, charged with the administration of the criminal justice system and the enforcement of our civil rights. We have grave concerns with Senator Sessions’ potential nomination for this post and urge President-elect Trump to reconsider.
"I am deeply disturbed and distressed at the latest police-involved shootings. The people of South L.A. need answers, and I share their anger, frustration and fear. While the facts of both cases are still being examined, I urge that there be fair and impartial investigations. We must have a serious conversation about ways in which officers can defuse dangerous situations without necessarily resorting to shooting suspects. My condolences go to the families of the two men who were killed."
Several Congressional Black Caucus members tell The Hill that the Charlotte police chief "absolutely" needs to release the video of a police-involved shooting.
"I believe that the video should be released right away because when they’re not, distrust builds in the community; distrust about altering them, distrust about whether they’re going to get to know the truth," Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson tells The Hill's Molly K. Hooper.
Los Angeles, California – Today, Congressmember Karen Bass (D-Calif.) marked Woman’s Equality Day, when we celebrate the 96th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which enshrined women’s right to vote.
“On Women’s Equality Day, we celebrate one of the great leaps forward for our democracy – finally giving women the right to vote,” Rep. Bass stated. “When women won the vote, we honored our most fundamental values as a nation.”