Doc Berman over at Sentencing Law and Policy posted this press release from the US Sentencing Commission.
Here's a piece but click above to read the whole thing
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Sentencing Commission voted to promulgate sentencing guideline amendments that expand the availability of alternatives to incarceration and address the relevance of certain specific offender characteristics in sentencing. The Commission also voted to promulgate guideline amendments on additional topics including hate crimes, the calculation of a defendant’s criminal history, and sentencing corporate offenders.
The amendment on sentencing alternatives has several key components. First it informs courts that departures from the guidelines may be warranted in situations where an offender’s criminal activity is related to a treatment issue such as drug or alcohol abuse or significant mental illness and sentencing options such as home or community confinement or intermittent confinement would serve a specific treatment purpose. The Commission also recommends in a new application note that courts take into consideration the effectiveness of residential treatment programs as part of their decision to impose community confinement. Second, the Commission voted to increase the availability of alternative sentencing options by expanding by one offense level Zones B and C in the guidelines’ sentencing table. According to the guidelines, offenders in Zones B and C are eligible, in the court’s discretion and subject to statutory limitations, for alternatives to straight imprisonment such as split sentences, home or community confinement.
“The Commission has heard from virtually every sector of the criminal justice community that there is a great need for alternatives to incarceration,” said Chair of the Commission, William K. Sessions III. “Expanding the availability of alternatives to straight incarceration is a public safety issue. Providing flexibility in sentencing for certain low-level, non violent offenders helps lower recidivism, is cost effective, and protects the public. The Commission’s action in this area amounts to a very modest but important step in the right direction.”
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010