America’s criminal justice system is broken

Chris Coons is a Democratic US senator representing Delaware. Thom Tillis is a Republican US senator representing North Carolina. The views expressed in this commentary are their own.

(CNN)As a Democrat from Delaware and a Republican from North Carolina, we disagree on plenty of policy issues. You might think that would be especially true of an issue as historically divisive and politically challenging as crime and punishment.

That’s not the case. We share a strong belief that America’s criminal justice system is broken, focusing far too much on criminalization and incarceration and far too little on rehabilitation.

A compelling example of the urgent need for reform is how our system treats juvenile offenders. We know that young people’s relationship with the criminal justice apparatus has powerful, lasting consequences for them, their families, and their communities. It is therefore vitally important we make sure that all children who come into contact with the criminal justice system are treated fairly and appropriately, are not forgotten, and are afforded an opportunity to rehabilitate and become productive, contributing members of society.

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