criminal justice reform

Walker Wants GOP to Lead on Criminal Justice, Immigration
Head of Republican Study Committee says new approach warranted

Walker thinks Republicans need to move beyond talking points on simply securing the border when discussing immigration policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker wants Republicans to take the lead on issues where they’ve been timid in the past, like overhauling the criminal justice and immigration systems.

“There are communities that are hurting, that are suffering,” the North Carolina Republican told a group of reporters Monday. “And that should be important to both parties, to all the parties.”

Utah Senator Meets Inmate Who Inspired Sentencing Law Rewrite

Sen. Mike Lee has told the story of Weldon Angelos’ prison term hundreds of times, describing the 55-year sentence over three marijuana sales in 72 hours as “crazy” and “nuts.”

On Economy, Obama Needs GOP Congress

   

The Obama administration's top economic advisers said Monday they have done all they can to improve the economy and need cooperation from Congress to make more progress.  

Popular Criminal Justice Bill Poses Political Risk

Grassley, left, and Leahy confer at Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Heading to the Senate floor, beware of Willie Horton.  

That could have been the subtext of criticism of a broad, bipartisan sentencing overhaul advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 15-5 vote.  

Laughs and a Hug at Sentencing Overhaul Unveiling (Video)

Sen. Cory Booker and several other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee unveiled a bipartisan overhaul to the criminal justice system. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cory Booker stood on a platform with eight other senators, holding back his desire to hug them all.  

The New Jersey Democrat was gushing with joy as he and many members of the Judiciary Committee announced a major overhaul to the criminal justice system, particularly on sentencing and recidivism reduction. The effort uniting senators from across the political spectrum, as well as disparate interest groups, is particularly notable in a Congress known more for hyper-partisanship.  

Pope Francis Unlikely to Influence Sentencing Bill

Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Charles "Chuck" Grassley both expect a criminal justice package to be introduced soon (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Argentine-born Pope Francis will visit prisoners in Philadelphia this week, fueling speculation that he'll make criminal justice reform part of his message on Thursday to Congress.  

But even though Sen. Charles E. Grassley has shown a willingness to revisit federal sentencing laws, the tough-on-crime chairman of the Judiciary Committee is unlikely to be persuaded by the Vatican leader. "We legislate according to American people," the Iowa Republican told CQ Roll Call on Wednesday.  

Senators Moving Closer to Deal on Criminal Justice Bills

Cornyn testifies Tuesday on criminal justice at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama's stepped-up push for a criminal justice overhaul is in some ways playing catchup to congressional efforts already well underway.  

While Obama pushed for a broad overhaul bill to reach his desk this year in a Tuesday speech to the NAACP in Philadelphia, a working group of senators has been toiling away trying to agree on language — with various House pushes in progress.