Criminal Justice

Ryan Says House Will Vote on Criminal Justice Reform Bills in September

Paul Ryan says he intends to get six criminal justice bills to the floor of the House in September. The House Judiciary Committee has already advanced four.

|

SHAWN THEW/EPA/Newscom

The House will consider a package of six criminal justice reform bills in September, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep on Friday.

As I reported earlier this week, the timeline for getting criminal justice reform bills through Congress this year is getting increasingly short, with the summer recess about to start, followed by an all-consuming election season.

But Ryan, who has promised to give floor time this year to a package of criminal justice bills advanced by the House Judiciary Committee, said the House is working to get the package finished and ready for votes in September.

When asked by Inskeep if there was a double standard in the current response to opioid overdoses in largely white communities, compared with the draconian drug laws passed to combat crack cocaine in black communities in the '80s and '90s, Ryan responded:

No, I think you need to complement this with criminal justice reform. I agree with that, as well. That's something we're working on for September. We've got four bills on criminal justice reform already out of the Judiciary Committee. We're looking at getting two more out. Just this week I set up a working group of members from both sides of the aisle to work on community policing ideas, training ideas, but also finishing the job on criminal justice reform so we can get all of those bills out to the floor in September

So, opioid abuse is an epidemic in America. This was a fantastic effort of Republicans and Democrats coming together to solve this problem which, as you say, it's about treatment, it's about intervention, it's about recovery.

In the 1990s, to your first point, I think government, both Republicans and Democrats, overcompensated on our criminal code. And we went too far and there are disparities — crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine — there are clear disparities and more importantly, I think that we've learned there are better ways of dealing with some of these problems than locking up somebody for 20 or 30 years. You end up ruining their lives, ruining their families, hurting communities, and then when they try to re-enter into society, they're destitute.

So I really think there are better methods of dealing with these problems, and I think that is part of criminal justice reform. I think that's something I put out in the poverty plan that I first authored three years ago. So we intend on bringing these bills up in September.

Ryan's 2014 anti-poverty plan included an entire chapter on the effects of mass incarceration on the cycle of poverty. His latest version of the plan, released in June, does not mention sentencing reform. A Republican aide said it was not included because it legislative efforts were already underway, and "a lot of people viewed criminal justice as something we could move on this year."

Even if the package passes the House, it would still have to be reconciled with the Sentencing Reforms and Corrections Act in the Senate, which has yet to be brought to the floor by Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Advertisement

NEXT: Biased Policing and Black Dignity: New at Reason

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Where’s Fist?

    1. He got stuck in commodious’ spitoon.

  2. I’m sure healthy skepticism is needed here… but I can’t help but be encouraged.

  3. I bought some shoes today from a drug dealer. I’m not sure what he laced them with, but I’ve been tripping all afternoon.

    1. *boos, throws half-empty coffee cup at DEATF*

      1. I’ll be here, uh, all, week?

  4. Why don’t mathematicians ever get constipated?

    1. ‘Cause they work it out with a pencil.

      1. I never get tired of that one!

        1. You should probably eat more fiber, then.

        2. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

          1. Jeselnik be upon you.

  5. I am confident that the finished product will only make things worse.

    1. Yeah, you’re probably right.

  6. They undoubtedly need more time. After all, the Federal Register wasn’t built in a day.

    They’re going to repeal a bunch of laws, right?

    RIGHT?

  7. RE: Ryan Says House Will Vote on Criminal Justice Reform Bills in September
    Paul Ryan says he intends to get six criminal justice bills to the floor of the House in September. The House Judiciary Committee has already advanced four.

    It is with great disappointment that Mr. Ryan does not join the wise and benevolent slavers who want to imprison anyone who speaks out against climate change. This man has a horrible record of eliminating the constitutional guarantees down through the years. I am grateful this fool has not been given the green light by any political party to run for the executive office of our country. One could only imagine the horrors he would deliver to the doorsteps, such as limited government, stopping our wise foreign policy of interventionism, eliminating needless and even counter-productive government agencies, cutting back on our national debt and reducing taxes. Such people as Mr. Ryan should be banned from public office for the sake of the collective forever. I will get on my knees tonight and thank God we have either a fascist (Trump) or a socialist slaver (Hitlary) that will rescue us from the shackles of freedom, capitalism and politically incorrect speech.

    1. You probably want that loser Hitler clone Gary Johnson and his legion of Nazi cakes. Cuck!

  8. ” I think that we’ve learned there are better ways of dealing with some of these problems than locking up somebody for 20 or 30 years. You end up ruining their lives, ruining their families, hurting communities, and then when they try to re-enter into society, they’re destitute.”

    “But opiates are bad and we must fight them and eradicate them. So we’re going to lock people up for 20-30 years, ruin their lives, ruin their families, hurt their communities, and never let them live down the stigma of a felony. We do will do whatever it takes to win this war on opiates, no matter how long the sentences need to be and how hard our police have to crack down.”

    The Committee For The Realization of Idiocracy then continued, “We recognize opiate addiction is a medical issue. But we’re going to keep treating it like a criminal justice one anyway until we finally arrest our way out of it. We realize that locking people up didn’t fully address the crack epidemic, so with the opiate epidemic we’re going to force people into treatment first, THEN lock them up for 20-30 years when they fail or relapse. This balanced approach will bring an end to opiate abuse.”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.