Sentencing Reform

Friday February 3rd, 2017 - 8:00 AM
(1.0 CLE) The era of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, combined with a large number of increasingly harsh mandatory minimum sentencing statutes, sparked a massive increase in the federal prison population, an increase that was matched, and more, by state systems. There was almost a contest to enact tougher and more draconian sentencing laws. By 2009, there were about 1.6 million people in prison, and a large number in local jails. The United States, with about five percent of the world’s population, has about twenty-five percent of people held in prison. In the past few years, however, groups from both sides of the political spectrum have come to see these policies as being economically unjustifiable and as socially disastrous. Reform efforts have begun in many states, and they have been successful. The federal government has taken some steps in the direction of reform, but more are needed. There needs to be a deeper discussion of fundamental federal sentencing reform, including alternatives to incarceration—such as treatment programs and community service--and programs that can both reduce the incarceration and recidivism rate, while not compromising public safety. That is the challenge for the federal system, one that has grown dramatically, yet not adequately considered the costs—the human toll and the economic one—of that growth.
Speakers: A.J. Kramer, Hon. Martha Vazquez, Hon. Nancy Gertner, Hon. Patrick Michael Duffy
Written Material(s): Sentencing Reform.pdf

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