I just received an informative document recently issued by The Stanford Executive Sessions on Sentencing and Corrections and have taken the liberty of posting it to the New Jersey Commission's Web site here.
In the preface to the report, entitled The California Sentencing Commission: Laying the Groundwork, Kara Dansky, the Executive Director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, explains how, on March 9, 2007, criminal justice experts and researchers met with California lawmakers at Stanford Law School for the launch of the The Stanford Executive Sessions on Sentencing and Corrections (Sessions) "in order to explore the future of a sentencing commission in California. The meeting was the first in a series of Executive Sessions, which will meet quarterly for two years. . . . The purpose of the [Sessions] is to bring together the key public, academic, and organizations leaders in the field of sentencing and corrections policy in a spirit of cooperative movement toward reform of the sentencing and corrections systems in California."
A quick read of the report suggests that the findings and recommendations are no less pertinent to those states, including Colorado, New Jersey, etc., that are seriously contemplating the creation of permanent sentencing commissions to guide sentencing policy grounded on empirical evidence and informed by rational policy considerations.
Kudos to Kara and her colleagues in California; they're charting a great course for the rest of us to follow.