Sandra Bland Case Prompts Legislative Calls For Criminal Justice Reform

In the wake of the Sandra Bland case and other recent encounters between police and minorities, two lawmakers have introduced a package of legislation aimed at reforming the criminal justice system.

The package of reform bills, called the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, was introduced Wednesday by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and cosponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston.

The legislation calls for universal accreditation standards to be developed for law enforcement agencies.

It also includes grants for local government and private organizations to provide training for law enforcement management. And it would require better data collection concerning traffic stops.

In an internet-streamed press conference, Jackson Lee says the bills are not intended to work against law enforcement, but to enhance the tools available to justice agencies.

“Any number of police departments are not accredited, they have no road map. And this is a road map,” Jackson Lee said.

The legislation is cosponsored by another 42 members of Congress, all of them Democrats. The NAACP has endorsed the proposals. 

“These crucial bills will help ensure decent, humane treatment for all Americans, who make mistakes and seek the opportunity to grow, learn from their errors, and contribute to the reality of a more perfect union,” said Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington Bureau.

Jackson Lee is also introducing a companion set of bills to address youth incarceration. Those bills would provide an avenue for former inmates to petition to have their juvenile records expunged.


Video of the press conference

The press conference starts at 6:40 minutes into the video



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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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