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Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia)

US Mayors Call US 'War on Drugs' a Failure, Call for Reforms

Wesley P. Hester

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is putting its weight behind sweeping criminal justice reform legislation proposed by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.

Webb's National Criminal Justice Commission Act would create a bipartisan commission to conduct an 18-month review of each facet of the nation's criminal justice system with a goal of reshaping and reforming it completely.

The legislation was first introduced in 2009 and cleared the U.S. House last year, but was blocked in the Senate. Webb reintroduced the legislation Feb. 8.

In a resolution citing the nation's high incarceration rate and calling the war on drugs a failure, the Conference of Mayors, which represents 1,191 cities with populations of 30,000 or more, urged the legislation's passage.

"Such overwhelming support from our nation's mayors is a major step forward in securing passage of this vital legislation," Webb said. "This endorsement ... should be clear evidence of the crucial need for swift reform of America's criminal justice system."

The legislation also has the support of more than 100 other organizations, including the National Sheriff's Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Sentencing Project, the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and Prison Fellowship.

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