THIS WEEK: Oversight Committee to Hold Hearings Requested by Cummings on Criminal Justice Reforms

Jul 13, 2015
Press Release



THIS WEEK:  Oversight Committee to Hold Hearings Requested by Cummings on Criminal Justice Reforms


Washington, D.C.—On Tuesday, July 14, and Wednesday, July 15, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold bipartisan hearings requested by Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings as part of his ongoing efforts to implement systemic criminal justice reforms.

“I have been working with Chairman Chaffetz on this request for many months, and I want to thank him and his staff for approaching this issue in such a bipartisan way,” said Cummings.  “Now is the time to act on the historic, bipartisan support for criminal justice reform that currently exists in states across the country and right here in Congress.  I believe these reforms should be comprehensive, and they should address racial disparities, community investment, mandatory minimums, and barriers to re-entry into society.”

Cummings first wrote to Chairman Chaffetz on December 9, 2014, requesting “a series of in-depth hearings to examine the Federal response to the multiple, complex issues raised by the tragic deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and other unarmed black individuals at the hands of police.”

In February, Cummings submitted detailed proposals to Chaffetz for hearings, including a specific proposal to invite Republican and Democratic Governors from states that have already implemented successful reforms. 

On April 13, 2015, Cummings hosted a bipartisan forum at Howard University, bringing together voices as diverse as Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID), and Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI).

For Cummings, these issues took on even more urgency after the death of Freddie Grey at the hands of police in Baltimore on April 19, 2015, and the subsequent unrest the city endured.  He has spent much time examining how the criminal justice system can be reformed as a way to help repair broken relationships between the public, law enforcement, the judiciary, and the correctional system.

At the upcoming hearings, Cummings plans to utilize the Committee’s broad jurisdiction to fully explore criminal justice reform proposals at the federal and state levels, and he also plans to evaluate steps Congress can take to address over-criminalization, over-sentencing, and recidivism, all while reducing the amount of money spent on prisons.

Over the past year, Cummings has cosponsored significant legislation, including the SAFE Justice Act, Police CAMERA Act, the Youth PROMISE Act, and the Smarter Sentencing Act.




                Tuesday, July 14—9:45 a.m.


Panel One—Members of Congress


  •         The Honorable John Cornyn, Senator (TX)
  •         The Honorable Cory Booker, Senator (NJ)
  •         The Honorable Jim Sensenbrenner, Representative (WI)
  •         The Honorable Cedric Richmond, Representative (LA)
  •         The Honorable Bobby Scott, Representative (VA)


Panel Two—State Governors


  •         The Honorable Robert Bentley, Governor of Alabama
  •         The Honorable Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware


Wednesday, July 15—10:00 a.m.


  •         Kevin Ring, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Families Against Mandatory Minimums
  •         Marc A. Levin, Director, Right on Crime and Center for Effective Justice, Texas Public Policy Foundation
  •         John G. Malcolm, Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Heritage Foundation
  •         Liz Ryan, President and CEO, Youth First! Initiative
  •         Brett L. Tolman, Co-Chair, White Collar Criminal Defense and Corporate Compliance Practice Group, Ray Quinney & Nebeker


 WHERE:       2154 Rayburn House Office Building


114th Congress