Dec 1 2016

Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) joined Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) at the Washington Post Juvenile Justice Summit for a discussion about juvenile justice reform and sentencing reform.
Senator Tillis stressed the need for members of the Senate to work past the far-right and far-left in order to pass criminal justice reform legislation.
In 2011, as North Carolina Speaker of the House, Tillis spearheaded the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act, sweeping criminal justice reform legislation. The law has resulted in a reduction in North Carolina’s prison population and a significant decrease in the recidivism rate. Then-Speaker Tillis also presided over the passage of several juvenile justice reforms, including allowing a juvenile’s criminal record to be expunged of non-violent offenses, limiting detention for certain offenses, and eliminating mandatory life sentences without parole for youth.
In the Senate, Tillis has continued his advocacy for criminal and juvenile justice reform. He is a co-sponsor of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would recalibrate prison sentences for certain non-violent drug offenders while also targeting violent criminals and adding two new mandatory minimum sentences. The legislation also seeks to reduce recidivism through education, job training, drug rehabilitation, and faith-based programs.
Watch the discussion here.
Senator Tillis on the federal government’s role for criminal justice reform (7:10)
“What we want to do is not provide a one size fits all, we have to get to a point where we recognize there are very differing needs within the communities. We need to start solving the problem.”
Senator Tillis on current criminal justice reform legislation (16:40)
“This is a bill that is only talking about the release of non-violent offenders and ensures the judge that actually issued the first sentence has the opportunity to review it based on circumstances at that time. This is not a bill about letting murderers go or making our society less safe. It’s a bill that could potentially get someone released sooner so that they would be less likely to commit a crime, save money in the judicial system, and make that transformational opportunity happen for a number of people…It is time to tell the far-left and the far-right to get productive or get out of the way, because we need to solve this problem.”
Senator Tillis on the need to pass criminal justice reform (24:50)
“This is a critically important issue and solvable problem. We need people to step up and understand the political courage to say it is time to solve this problem.”