Remarks to Reporters Announcing Proposed Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

September 13, 1982

The President. I have a statement here, and let me say in advance -- --

Q. You won't take questions. [Laughter]

The President. I won't -- I can't.

Q. You never take questions. [Laughter]

The President. It's Monday, and I have a very heavy schedule and a meeting waiting for me. But Ed Meese and these gentlemen from the Justice Department are here for a complete briefing of anything, any questions that you may have on this subject.

Since the early days of this administration, we've been working to make America a safer place for all our citizens. Last year we launched the Attorney General's task force on crime. Based on their proposals, we worked with the Senate Judiciary Committee to develop an omnibus anticrime package which revises the bail and parole systems and requires tougher Federal penalties for drug trafficking. The measure also requires a judge to take into account the suffering of the victims when it comes time to sentence a criminal.

The administration has been pushing for enactment of that package, and I hope that the Senate will bring it to a vote in the next several days.

On other fronts, we've appointed a Task Force on Victims of Crime. And that group will begin hearings this week here in Washington. In the near future, you'll also be hearing more from us about what we can do to stem narcotics crime.

Today, we're sending to the Congress another important installment in our fight against crime. It's a legislative package that I believe offers great hope for improvements in the way that our courts handle criminal cases. These measures will simplify the justice system and make it more likely that those who commit crimes pay a price. The American people want a system of justice they can understand and they can have confidence in. And this is our goal, as well. Working with the Congress, I believe we can deliver a serious blow to the criminal elements in our society.

And ladies and gentlemen of the press, I now turn you over to Ed Meese and these gentlemen from the Justice Department.

Q. Did the Hinckley verdict have anything to do with this crime package?

The President. I said that I wouldn't take any questions. [Laughter]

Q. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:30 a.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House. Following the President's remarks, Counsellor to the President Edwin Meese III and Associate Attorney General Rudolph W. Giuliani and Assistant Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen, Criminal Division, Department of Justice, briefed reporters on the proposed legislation.