Since joining the Senate in 2006 Jim Webb has proven himself a dynamic leader. Webb's successes in passing the 21st Century GI bill and in creating the new Truman Commission proved Webb's growing influence, and he continues expanding his leadership role.
Today, Senator Webb will introduce his bipartisan legislation to deal with the incarceration crisis.
Alarmed by prisons that are clogged with mentally ill people, drug users and other non-violent offenders while well-armed gangs and drug lords often go unpunished, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb will launch a wide-ranging and politically risky campaign today to overhaul the nation's criminal justice system.
With nearly 2.4 million Americans now behind bars, Webb said, "our incarceration rate has exploded.... But at the same time we aren't really solving the problems."
With backing from senior Democratic senators and quiet encouragement from President Barack Obama, Webb will introduce legislation to create a bipartisan commission on criminal justice reform.
Webb said he wants the commission to educate itself and then the American public on some little-understood realities about crime and punishment.
His bill reads like an indictment of the current system, noting that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, that minorities make up a disproportionately large share of prison populations, and that half of prisoners will return to prison within three years of release.
When Virginia Democrats championed Jim Webb's candidacy in 2006, we saw in him a true leader, ready to address pressing issues and work to transform the nation after years of the failed policies of George W. Bush and George Allen. Our Senator has never failed us, and it's looking like he never will.