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Published on Oct 9, 2014
Jeremy Travis is the president of John Jay College, City University of New York. In this interview he discusses the passage of the Crime Bill and its effects. Travis became the head of the National Institutes of Justice as the Crime Bill was passed in 1994. While crime rates have fallen since its enactment, he argues that low crime rates do not require high incarceration rates. The Crime Bill gave federal legitimacy to the “tough on crime” approach, but Travis favors “right on crime” criminal justice reforms. Such reforms would address the increases in mandatory minimum sentences, and punitive drug policies to focus on reducing incarceration. He argues that the criminal justice system needs to move beyond its existing bureaucratic structure and address issues of justice from an environmental and contextual perspective.
Justice in Focus: Crime Bill @ 20 is an initiative of the Vera Institute of Justice. 20 years ago, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, known today as the Crime Bill, was the largest piece of criminal justice legislation in U.S. history. It was passed with strong bipartisan support in an era when high-profile violent crime gripped the nation. Crime Bill @ 20 intends to start a dialogue to reflect on the impact of the Crime Bill, and to consider the future of criminal justice policy.