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