With rising tensions between police officers and some members of the public, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s introducing legislation calling for a series of reforms in the criminal justice system.
Grassley, a Republican, says the bill would look at multiple issues, including ways to make the sentencing process more fair along with tighter regulations on law enforcement.
Grassley says, “In light of recent and justified public concern over treatment of suspects by some police and the treatment of police by people who would do them harm, the need for criminal justice reform is even greater now.” The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act aims to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. It would also enhance prison programs that are proven to reduce the likelihood of an inmate reoffending once released. Grassley says inmates who successfully complete those programs could see a reduced sentence.
“I’ve heard from Iowans who have raised concerns about the fast-growing federal prison population,” Grassley says. “I guess you hear at the state level as well, also about the cost to taxpayers to house those prisoners.” Grassley says he’s also hearing concerns about people who’ve committed relatively minor crimes being given lengthy sentences that are usually reserved for hard-core criminals.
Grassley says, “The bill I’ve authored is a step forward in healing wounds by closing some disparities in sentencing that disproportionately affect African-Americans and helping people already within the prison system become productive members of our society.”
The legislation would also require states receiving certain federal funds to report information regarding the discharge of a firearm by a law officer which results in the death of a civilian. Another element of the bill would offer various reforms to the federal criminal justice system, like allowing people convicted of certain crimes as juveniles to expunge their criminal records if they turn their lives around.