Criminal Justice Caucus Co-Chairs Share Intentions to Address Bipartisan Public Safety Reforms

HARRISBURG – Senator Art Haywood (D-4) and Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), Co-Chairs of the Pennsylvania State Senate Criminal Justice Reform Caucus, issued today the following statement regarding their intentions to collaborate on bipartisan public safety reforms in the wake of the death of George Floyd and subsequent massive protests.

Both Haywood and Bartolotta shared that while many believe Harrisburg is a place of partisan gridlock, the truth is Republicans and Democrats often work together on policies that benefit all Pennsylvanians. As Chairs of the Criminal Justice Reform Caucus they believe the focus should not only be addressing over-incarceration, successful rehabilitation, and re-entry efforts; but also protecting civil rights and improving the legal system.

“All people should be treated with dignity and respect,” said Senator Haywood. “It is time for police departments to provide proper training, use-of-force policies and de-escalation tactics. Black lives matter. Proper policing methods must be established to make appropriate recommendations. I am committed to working with my Co-Chair, Senator Bartolotta, in a bipartisan manner to provide a forum for policing issues to be heard and real solutions to be proposed.”

“We must begin to listen to each other’s experiences so that we can move forward together and stronger. With Senator Haywood, I am committed to working in a truly bipartisan fashion on meaningful, necessary reforms,” said Bartolotta. “The death of George Floyd was at the hands of an individual who dishonored the uniform and the oath he swore to uphold. I have the utmost respect for our brothers and sisters in blue who serve without prejudice, but I understand work is needed to restore the trust that’s been broken and heal the growing divide between our communities and law enforcement.”

The Senators both said we owe it to the Commonwealth to handle this situation with respect, dignity and care for all involved who fight for our civil rights and who work in uniform to keep us safe.

CONTACT:  Katrina Hanna (717) 787-1463 (Senator Bartolotta)

                        Kendall Alexander (717) 787-1427 (Senator Haywood)