Friday, February 26, 2021

What will President Biden do with the Sentencing Commission

 Sentencing Guru Douglas Berman writes about it here.  From his conclusion:

Diverse nominees to the Commission should help ensure this agency pursues an ambitious reform agenda. But President Biden should also expressly request the Commission conduct a comprehensive assessment of the entire federal sentencing system—and perhaps even our whole nation’s many sentencing systems—with a particular focus on modern mass incarceration and mass punishment. The American Law Institute’s recent revision of the Model Penal Code’s sentencing provisions wisely recommends that sentencing commissions regularly “perform an omnibus review of the sentencing system,” which should include “a comparative review of the experiences of other jurisdictions with similar sentencing and corrections systems.” An across-the-board review of the federal sentencing system is long overdue, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission has the staff and resources needed to conduct a systematic, evidence-based nationwide analysis in order to identify those modern sentencing systems and practices that best advance public safety and equitable justice while minimizing the number of persons subject to penal custody and supervision.

Calls for reviving and reorienting the work of the U.S. Sentencing Commission are coming from many quarters: a task force of the Council on Criminal Justice has stressed the need to “reinvigorate the U.S. Sentencing Commission,” for example, and the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform recommended that the Commission be tasked “with conducting a comprehensive review” of federal sentencing law and practices. But even with a chorus of voices and strong political will for significant sentencing reforms, President Biden must prioritize making appointments that can enable the U.S. Sentencing Commission to effectively lead the way.

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