Bipartisan juvenile justice reform bill has one problem in Congress: Tom Cotton | Arkansas Blog

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bipartisan juvenile justice reform bill has one problem in Congress: Tom Cotton

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:41 PM

click to enlarge JUVENILE JUSTICE OBSTACLE: Sen. Tom Cotton blocking passage of measure with broad bipartisan support.
  • JUVENILE JUSTICE OBSTACLE: Sen. Tom Cotton blocking passage of measure with broad bipartisan support.
In a year in which politics has prevented passage of much significant in Congress, a potential huge victory is possible for the Obama administration — improvement in juvenile justice.

Both the House and Senate have demonstrated near total support for legislation that would withhold federal money from states that put juveniles in adult jails, including those charged as adults and awaiting trial. The legislation also would ban states from locking up juveniles for status offenses, things that aren't crimes. These include truancy or breaking curfew.

Enter the problem: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton. The House has passed a bill and a Senate bill is out of committee with near unanimous support in the chamber.

But it still faces an obstacle in Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who has singlehandedly blocked the measure from being put to a quick voice vote. Cotton’s home state, Arkansas, locks up minors for running away and other status offenses at a disproportionately high rate, Mother Jones reported this week.

A spokeswoman said Cotton is concerned the proposed law would erode the power of the bench. “It is prudent to allow states to determine if their judges — often in consultation with the parents and attorneys involved — should have the discretion to order secure confinement as a last-resort option,” Cotton spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt said.

Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the lead proponents of the bill on the Senate side, have been trying for months to reach a compromise with Cotton. If their effort fails, it would fall to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to take up precious floor time — in a season devoted to reaching a spending deal and funding the fight against the Zika virus — with a debate and vote on the legislation.
Cotton comprise? That is wishful thinking. Alone he's held up confirmation of judges to the federal court of claims, to name just one of several single-handed Cotton vetoes of valuable legislation. Kids in jail? No biggie for Tough Tom.

The bill is already a compromise. The federal funding states would lose if they don't go along is small, if it materializes at all. It doesn't include an end to solitary confinement for juveniles, as some had hoped. But it does provide for some important data collection. And it would end shackling of pregnant prisoners. If only they could get it past Tom Cotton. Perhaps somebody could get him to read this in Mother Jones on treatment of non-criminal juveniles.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017
  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Durango, To my great sadness, Benji decided to step back from full time work at…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Maybe Congress has found a tiny little wringer for Donnie's tiny little member. (Baker doesn't…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Little Donny seems to have entered the permanently whiny stage, with sporadic attempts in the…

    • on July 22, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation