President Obama is laying out a weeks-long campaign for criminal justice reform that will include visits with ex-prisoners and trips to cities riddled with drug addiction.
In his weekly address Saturday, Obama renewed his push for a “fairer and smarter” criminal justice system at a time when he has faced heavy scrutiny for both policing and sentencing issues over the last year.
He announced Saturday that he has planned trips to “highlight some of the Americans who are doing their part to fix our criminal justice system,” including meetings with law enforcement officers, former prisoners and community members most familiar with substance abuse.
“Ever since I was a Senator, I’ve talked about how, in too many cases, our criminal justice system is a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails,” Obama said.
Obama touted some progress he’s already made, including a bill that he said reduces “the 100 to 1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.” He’s also cut the sentences for dozens of drug offenders, taking a stand against mandatory minimum sentences.
The president also vowed to work with members of Congress “who are determined to get criminal justice reform bills to my desk,” specifically highlighting a bipartisan Senate bill to reduce mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders.