Criminal Justice

Congresswoman Jackson Lee stands for:
Safe Communities • Fair Trials & Sentences • Fair Prison Conditions • Rehabilitation

“What is astonishing is that approximately 35 percent of Americans have very little or no confidence in the criminal justice system …The reality is that crime rates have dropped since the early 1990s, but most Americans believe that the rate of crime is increasing…The bills that I authored are intended to make America a better, fairer place, and are intended to assist families and the incarcerated.” – Congresswoman Jackson Lee. (Source)

There is a high cost of crime to individuals, communities, businesses, and the various levels of government which exceeds the billions of dollars spent each year in administering the criminal justice system. It is because of this that Congresswoman Jackson Lee authored innovative legislation aimed at addressing these problems. For example, in the 111th Congress, Jackson Lee sponsored H.R. 265 or the Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2009 which addresses the disparity between crack and powder cocaine. This bill would reduce the sentences of countless Texans who are caught by the disparity in drug sentencing.

Since May 2007, Congresswoman Jackson Lee has consistently demanded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the deplorable conditions that have plagued the Harris County Jail and led to at least 101 deaths between 2001 and 2006, at least 72 of which were inmates awaiting court hearings.

Due to the concerted efforts of Congresswoman Jackson Lee, on March 7, 2008, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ commenced an investigation into the Harris County Jail to determine whether the protection of inmates, environmental conditions, and inmate medical and mental health care illustrated systemic violations of the Constitution of the United States.