STATEMENT: CAP President On Criminal Code Improvement Act of 2015

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee will vote on the Criminal Code Improvement Act of 2015, and it is expected to be approved. Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

CAP opposes the Criminal Code Improvement Act of 2015. The bill is not aimed at addressing the aspects of the criminal justice system that are the drivers of mass incarceration and inequality and should not be part of any genuine discussion of criminal justice reform. The bill would make it much more difficult to enforce bedrock regulatory safeguards—such as environmental, health, and consumer safety protections—and leave communities of color disproportionately vulnerable to unscrupulous, fraudulent, and predatory business practices that exacerbate existing inequality in our communities. It is unfair to hold real criminal justice reform hostage to an effort that would allow corporations to skirt fundamental regulatory safeguards.

CAP is a strong supporter of criminal justice reform. Mass incarceration is a major driver of poverty and inequality in this country, with consequences that affect us all. As many as one in three Americans have a criminal record, which presents lifelong barriers that have severe implications for individuals, their families, communities, and the nation’s economy. CAP entered the criminal justice reform space to add our voice and resources to this vital policy debate and the efforts to reform the justice system at the state and federal levels. In fact, we are helping lead a bipartisan reform effort to make the justice system more equitable and fair.

We applaud and continue to support House and Senate efforts to move true, meaningful, bipartisan criminal justice reform measures—including the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 and the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2015 in the Senate and the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 in the House—that tackle the principal drivers of mass incarceration and afford individuals with criminal records a second chance. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to achieve meaningful reforms that keep us safe and ensure the justice system is fair, equitable, and balanced and affords individuals with criminal records a second chance.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya S. Arditi at tarditi@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6258.

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