President Obama Highlights Need for Criminal Justice Reform During 2015 End-of-Year Press Conference
The White House
December 18, 2015

The President spoke about the importance of passing criminal justice reform legislation towards the end of his 2015 end of year press conference.

A brief transcript is below:

Q) I’d like to ask you about the surprising Congress.  Specifically, what are your top legislative priorities for next year? … ”

 President Obama: “… A second area that I think is possible is criminal justice reform.  There has been sincere, serious negotiations and efforts by Democrats and Republicans to create a criminal justice system that is more fair, more evenhanded, more proportionate, and is smarter about how we reduce crime.  And I’ve really been impressed by the dedication of a core group of Democrats and Republicans — some of them, the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans — coming together saying this is the right thing to do.  We’ve got a good bill in the Senate that passed with bipartisan support out of committee.  My hope is, is that gets to the floor, and that we can pair it up with a good bill out of the House.  And this is an area where you potentially can see us save money, reduce recidivism, make sure that people who make a mistake on nonviolent crimes have to pay the price, have to serve time, but are released in a reasonable fashion, that they have more support so that they’re less likely to go back into the criminal system subsequently.  And that’s an area where I think we may be able to make a big difference.
“So those are just two examples.  We’ll keep on looking for a number of examples like that.  And wherever there’s an opportunity, I’m going to take it.”

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