Obama Calls For Criminal Justice Reform In State Of The Union

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama used part of his State on the Union address on Tuesday to call for bipartisan criminal justice reform.

Obama referenced the protests over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York last year, and said that while people may have differing opinions on those tragedies, there is room for agreement on criminal justice reform more broadly.

"We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift," Obama said.

"Surely we can agree it’s a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all," he continued.

In the wake of unrest in Ferguson and protests across the country this fall, Obama formed a presidential commission to look at policing issues. The commission is expected to offer recommendations in March.