U.S. senators and representatives from both parties are poised to introduce a criminal justice overhaul bill, aiming to address mass incarceration, criminal justice disparities, racial justice and gun violence.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would create a special committee that would work to overhaul the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which includes the U;s Criminal Justice Reform and Safety Act, which passed the Senate in September and is expected to pass the House this year.
The bill, which has the support of nine of the 12 members of the Senate Judiciary, includes the first time the committee has ever formally endorsed a measure, a move that is a departure from the past.
The Senate Judiciary’s committee on crime and the administration’s Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime have endorsed several bills, including legislation to increase federal funding for mental health services and criminal justice programs.
A separate bill, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., would require federal agencies to disclose any funding earmarked for mental and developmental disabilities, and to disclose how the money is spent.
The bill also calls for an independent commission to investigate the conditions that make it hard for people to receive appropriate services.
Other bills, also supported by the Judiciary, would make it easier for people with mental illnesses to obtain medication, including antipsychotic medications, and strengthen penalties for domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
The White House also backed the bill.
“The president supports criminal justice reforms that strengthen the rule of law and help reduce the number of people locked up in the United States’ prisons and jails,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
“His administration will continue to work with Congress to pass legislation to reduce incarceration, including his signature criminal justice bill.”
While the bill is expected for a Senate vote this week, it is expected the Senate will also take up another bill, the Protecting Our Law Enforcement Officers Act, on the issue of the use of force.
The current version of the bill was first introduced by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said in February that police officers “should not be the subject of violence or assault.”
The president’s bill is the first in a series of criminal justice measures the president has proposed since taking office.
The White House has also proposed a measure to end the mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent drug crimes, the first step in reducing the number who are incarcerated.