Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold Public Hearings on Pending Criminal Justice Reforms

Today, State Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, March 19th on a number of criminal justice reform measures that are pending before the Senate.  The hearing will take place from 9:30am to 1:00pm in North Office Building Hearing Room #1).  A second hearing will take place on March 26th.

Greenleaf, a longtime advocate for corrections reforms, is pushing for action on bills that he feels are long overdue such as expanding the use of post-conviction DNA testing for offenders who claim to be innocent, diverting those with mental illness from the criminal justice system, and compensation for the wrongfully convicted.  The committee will also hear testimony on grand jury reform.   

“The general theme for our hearings is corrections reform, examining a variety of issues that I feel are very pressing at the moment,” said Senator Greenleaf.  “While we have made great progress in recent years reversing the unintended consequences of the past, there are still great injustices built into the system which must be rectified.  Since passed the landmark criminal justice reform legislation of 2012, we have saved the state over $400 million and reduced our inmate population by 3,300 inmates.”

Agenda:

9:30 a.m.
Introductory Remarks by Senator Greenleaf

9:35 a.m.
Secretary John E. Wetzel
Department of Corrections
Consolidation of the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole; Prison Industry Enhancement; Justice Reinvestment Initiative

10:30 a.m.
Carl Reynolds
Council of State Governments Justice Center
Justice Reinvestment Initiative Phase 2; Cap on Prison Terms for County Probation Violations; Grant Program for Mental Health Diversion

11:30 a.m.
Marissa Bluestine
Pennsylvania Innocence Project
Post-Conviction Relief Act Amendments; DNA Testing for Exoneration; Compensation for Wrongful Conviction; Brady Violations

12:30 p.m.
Peter F. Vaira, Esq.
Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Grand Jury Reform

Contact:  Aaron Zappia (724) 984-1342