Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Sentencing Project Issues Report on Recent Sentencing Reforms

Laura Sager with Families Against Mandatory Minimums was kind enough to pass along news that The Sentencing Project has just released this report entitled "Changing Directions? State Sentencing Reforms 2004-2006." The report finds that at least 22 states have enacted sentencing reforms in the past three years, and further notes that the most popular approach for reducing prison crowding -- implemented by 13 states -- was the diversion of low-level drug offenders from prison to drug treatment programs.

Additional policy changes included:

  • expansion of alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders
  • parole and probation reforms designed either to reduce time served in prison or to provide supervision options to reduce the number of revocations to prison
  • and broader sentencing reform, such as modifying controversial mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

Changing Direction? State Sentencing Reforms 2004-2006 also argues that in order to build on these positive legislative developments, lawmakers must continue to enact evidence-based criminal justice policies. Recommendations of The Sentencing Project urge that policymakers: expand the use of drug treatment as a sentencing option; utilize intermediate sanctions for technical violations of parole and probation; repeal mandatory minimum sentences; and reconsider sentence lengths.

Although I've just glanced at the report, it appears to be a great read.

No comments: