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Sentencing

This database of significant sentencing and corrections legislation recently enacted by states can be searched by state, topic, keyword, year, or primary sponsor. Legislative topics include: budget and oversight; community supervision administration; community supervision programs; correctional facility administration; diversion and sentencing alternatives; inmate programs; reentry barriers and access to services; reentry oversight and organization; reentry programs and supervision; release and discharge; sentencing and crime penalties; specialized populations; and treatment-based programs.

State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation Cover

“This report examines several states’ ‘‘safety valve’’ statutes — legislation that allows judges to bypass a mandatory sentence under certain circumstances … a safety valve for cases where the mandatory minimum sentence would be unjust … [It] should serve as a guide to lawmakers and policy advisors across the country who are seeking to reduce their states’ inmate populations and save precious resources currently spent on incarceration” (p. 349). Sections of this report discuss: the rising costs and shrinking benefits of mass incarceration; states take the lead in rethinking sentencing policies; sentencing reform being the smartest reform; how a safety valve works; state safety valves; the benefits of a safety valve—protect public safety, give courts flexibility to punish enough but not too much, and save taxpayers money; and a model state sentencing safety valve. Appendixes provide: legislative language that defines sentencing safety valves in Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oregon, and Virginia; and the legislative language for the federal safety value statute.

Turning off the Spigot: How Sentencing Safety Valves can Help States Protect Public Safety and Save Money Cover

"RNA [risk and needs assessment] instruments are actuarial tools designed to inform community corrections-related decisions regarding risk management and reduction. They consist, in part, of static factors such as criminal history and age at first offense which are related to recidivism but cannot be altered through the delivery of services or treatment programs. In addition, and more importantly for recidivism reduction purposes, the tools identify dynamic risk factors (sometimes referred to as criminogenic needs) such as antisocial attitudes and antisocial peer groups that also are related to recidivism but can be addressed through services and treatment programs. Information from these tools assists in identifying specific offender risk factors that can be targeted with services and treatment programs in order to help reduce an offender’s likelihood of reoffending … Several jurisdictions now provide RNA information to the court to inform sentencing decisions as part of a broader evidence-based approach to effective risk management and recidivism reduction … The current report synthesizes the information across the ten jurisdictions and provides examples of how and the degree to which jurisdictions have implemented each of the nine guiding principles" (p. 1, 2, 3). Sections comprising this report are: Introduction; Guiding Principle 1: Public Safety/Risk Management Purpose; Guiding Principle 2: Amenability to Probation; Guiding Principle 3: Effective Conditions of Probation and Responses to Violations; Guiding Principle 4: Stakeholder Training; Guiding Principle 5: Availability and Routine Use of Offender Assessments; Guiding Principle 6: Evidence-Based Infrastructure; Guiding Principle 7: Assessment Instruments; Guiding Principle 8: Assessment Reports; Guiding Principle 9: Monitoring and Evaluation.; The Way Forward: Judicial Leadership and Lessons Learned; Conclusion; and Appendix: Jurisdiction Profiles. This report is accompanies "Using Offender Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing: Guidance for Courts from a National Working Group" - NICIC accession no. 026663.

Using Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing: Observations from Ten Jurisdictions cover

"Almost half of the 195,809 federally sentenced individuals in the Bureau of Prisons are serving time for drug trafficking offenses, but little is known about their criminal histories or the nature of their offenses. This brief examines both, finding that many people in federal prison for drug crimes have minimal or no criminal histories, and most were not convicted of violent or leading roles. Nonetheless, many serve long prison sentences due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Lasting reductions in the size of the federal prison population will require big cuts in length of stay for drug offenses" (home page). Sections of this brief cover: many drug offenders housed in federal prisons have little to no criminal histories; few are convicted of leading trafficking organizations or responsible for violent acts during drug trafficking crimes; long federal sentences are driven by mandatory minimums; and continued federal prison population reductions require shorter drug sentences.

Who Gets Time for Federal Drug Offenses? Data Trends and Opportunities for Reform cover

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