U.S. Senate Announces Bi-Partisan Criminal Justice Reform Bill Addressing Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

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Criminal justice reform has been a major issue for President Barack Obama, progressives and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

In recent months the Koch Brothers, Democrats and a number of Republicans have voiced their support for a change of course within the American justice system.

On Thursday, a bi-partisan bill was announced by members of the U.S. Senate to address mandatory minimums and a number of other issues. But now, the question arises — is the proposed bill a “good bill” and will it actually address the sentencing disparities that result in the excessive numbers of non-violent offenders being locked up for extended periods of time?

Lauren Victoria Burke, Managing Editor of Politic365.com joined Roland Martin Friday on NewsOne Now to discuss the proposed bi-partisan legislation and discuss exactly what the bill contains. 

The bill is a “step back from mandatory minimums that I think is noteworthy, given the fact that it is usually punitive is the direction that we’ve been actually going for the last 24 years,” Burke told Martin. She continued, saying the proposed Senate bill “ekes out a way for people to escape mandatory minimums, but it is not as good as the House bill.”

According to Burke, the bill proposed by the House of Representatives — titled The Safe Justice Act — deals with the issue of mandatory minimums in a more direct fashion.” The Senate bill adds two new mandatory minimum sentences for domestic violence and terrorism “which is really redundant and unnecessary because there is not too many judges that that are going to give a life sentence for that,” she said.

Burke explained that the Senate bill also contains an expungement provision which she feels would be better handled by the state government. She also credited Sen. Corey Booker for getting that added to the bi-partisan bill saying, “it’s not something that you would look up and see in a Republican bill  in a Republican Congress.”

However according to Burke, this provision “will not affect too many people.”

Watch Roland Martin, Lauren Victora Burke and the NewsOne Now Panel discuss the Senate’s bi-partisan criminal justice reform bill in the video clip above.

Let us know if you believe Congress can come together and make criminal justice reform a reality.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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