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In recent months, a number of Republicans across the nation have shown support for criminal justice reform as a result of the millions of dollars that are being lost on locking up American citizens.

Many Democrats and progressives have been long-time proponents for reforming the criminal justice system, finding fault with mandatory minimum sentencing and discriminatory policing practices.

Now that there seems to be some interest on both sides of the aisle, is it time for President Barack Obama to call on Congress to act on the issue that has incarcerated a disproportionate number of African-Americans on mandatory minimum sentences, and has cost states millions of dollars to hold non-violent drug offenders behind bars?

Roland Martin and Tuesday’s NewsOne Now Straight Talk panel (featuring Hazel Trice Edney, Editor/Publisher of the Trice Edney News Wire, David Swerdlick, Assistant Editor at The Washington Post, Earl D. Fowlkes, President/CEO of the Center for Black Unity, and Lauren Victoria Burke, Managing Editor of discuss the possibilities of Republicans and Democrats coming together on criminal justice reform and whether President Barack Obama will go so far as to challenge Congress to act on the issue (Watch their conversation in the video clip above).

Martin explained there are members of the Republican party who recognize the need for criminal justice reform. He named a number of prominent Republican voices, which include Sen. Rand Paul, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist, conservative American political activist Ralph Reed, and the controversial Koch Brothers, as having recently shown support for the issue.

So the question is: can some sort of action or legislation be crafted that will address criminal justice reform and ease the burden of excessive incarceration?

President Obama Comments On The “Possibilities” Of Bipartisan Legislation On Criminal Justice Reform 

On Tuesday during a joint press conference with the President of Brazil, Mr. Obama briefly discussed his desire to deal with reforming the criminal justice system:

“I am really interested in the possibilities, the prospect of bipartisan legislation around the criminal justice system — something that I think directly speaks to some of the themes I mentioned on Friday. And we’ve seen some really interesting leadership from some unlikely Republican legislators very sincerely concerned about making progress there.”

Watch Roland Martin, Director and Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice Nicole Austin-Hillery, Political Strategist and host of Inside The Issues Dr. Wilmer Leon, Principal of theGROUP Consulting Firm Candice T. Burns, and GOP Political and Communications Strategist Parris Dennard, discuss President Obama’s remarks on criminal justice reform in the video clip above.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


Former Attorney General Eric Holder: Criminal Justice Reforms Can Make A Positive Difference In Millions