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
We often forget that women’s rights are human rights. The mass incarceration policies in this country caters to for-profit prisons and only incentivizes the detention and incarceration of more individuals, many of which are vulnerable women who flee their home countries escaping gang-related and sexual violence,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Reports of horrific treatment of incarcerated pregnant women breaks the moral fabric of our society. The thought of a pregnant women sitting in solitary confinement without access to needed food and nourishment is simply heart-breaking.
“This morning’s announcement should serve as a wake-up call to the White House that conspiring against the United States will not slide. In the face of confusing talking points and untruths put forth by the Trump Administration, it’s important to note that both Paul Manafort and Richard Gates spent significant time working with now-President Trump. Mr. Manafort ran the entire campaign operation for three months while Gates served as a close deputy. We must be sure to let Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation run its course and pay close attention to facts and not distractions.”
“One of our most urgent priorities should be disrupting the child welfare to trafficking pipeline and finding better and more effective ways to meet the critical needs of this vulnerable population,” Rep. Bass, Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, said. “That’s why I’ve added a provision to this important piece of legislation that focuses on the special housing needs of young girls in the foster care system. One of the major reasons girls cannot escape the cycle of sex trafficking is because they do not have housing to escape to.
“Over the past several decades there has been an increasing occurrence of criminalizing and incarcerating women and girls of color,” Rep. Bass said. “We continue to see young girls being pushed out of school, and arrested and prosecuted at rates that are grossly disproportionate to their peers. Yet women and girls are seldom the focal point of discussion when developing or evaluating criminal justice policies and reform.