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Patrick Murphy unveils criminal justice reform package

in 2017/Top Headlines by

With South Carolina Democratic Representative James Clyburn and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker standing beside him, Jupiter Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy unveiled a package of criminal justice reform legislation on Saturday at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood.

“Our criminal justice system has been out of balance for too long, and I look forward to working with all Floridians to fix this broken system,” Murphy said. “In the U.S. Senate, I will partner with leaders like Senator Cory Booker, who I’m proud to have stand with me today, to make this a top priority.

“I know that by working with Florida families, we can empower our children to succeed in school, help formerly incarcerated individuals rebuild their lives, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve. Floridians deserve a criminal justice system that is reflective of our values, and this will be a top priority for me in the U.S. Senate.”

Murphy pointed out his criminal justice plan centered around three themes – 1) that everyone has a fair shot in life, 2) that it’s about empowering students, and 3) strengthening communities.

Among the specifics that he’s backing include support for the Democracy Restoration Act, which would automatically restore voting rights for non-violent ex-felons after they have served their time in prison. “It’s a travesty that six million incarcerated people don’t have their voting rights restored,  1.5 million of them,  a quarter of the total are right here in Florida.”

He also supports prison sentencing reforms that include reducing the mandatory minimums for most non-violent drug offenders.

And he backs legislation mandating that all police officers be equipped with body cameras (though a bill called the Police CAMERA Act, which would increase funding for states and local governments).

Murphy also is supporting the TRUST (the Tracking Reputations Upgrades Society Trust) Act, which would measure public trust in law enforcement via the National Crime Victimization Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  That proposed legislation (sponsored by Florida Democrat Corrine Brown) calls for areas where the level of public trust in the police force is problematically low; the Attorney General would submit recommendations to improve confidence in law enforcement and address systemic problems before conflicts escalate.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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