For the past several years, the Collateral Consequences Resource Center has been documenting the emergence of an extraordinary legislative trend in the states that is aimed at helping individuals overcome the adverse consequences of a criminal record. It appears that lawmakers are at last recognizing the economic disadvantages of having burdened almost a third of the adult population with some sort of criminal record, the product of a vast expansion of criminal prosecutions over the past thirty years.
An article from Law360 Access to Justice breaks down a recent appellate decision on the interpretation of federal sentencing guidelines which could have a major impact on people with prior criminal records who are being sentenced for new crimes.
Kevin R. Reitz of University of Minnesota Law School and Cecelia M. Klingele of University of Wisconsin Law School recently published an article in Volume 48 of Crime and Justice, a journal from the University of Chicago.
In a recent article for Law360 Access to Justice, Alexandra Natapoff of UC Irvine School of Law examines the misdemeanor process in the U.S. criminal justice system.
New Hampshire is now the 21st U.S. state to have abolished capital punishment. State legislature voted to override a veto by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Thursday, May 30.
Criminal trials have virtually disappeared in many federal courtrooms. According to a recent U.S. Sentencing Commission report, “[i]n recent years, 97 percent of federal defendants convicted of a felony or Class A misdemeanor offense are adjudicated guilty based on a guilty plea rather than on a verdict at a trial.”
Without the gift of a second chance early in his life, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, is sure his story would have turned out differently.
In writing Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration, Rachel Barkow, Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy, says she hopes to inspire a model of criminal justice reform based on evidence and data, overseen by institutions structured to provide accountability.
The Model Penal Code: Sentencing (MPC) is not specifically designed or intended to influence sentencing in the federal system, although the MPC itself often reflects the influence of federal law. In one recent case, the influence of one upon the other appears mutual: an MPC provision modeled on a federal statute authorizing reduction of prison sentences may have been at least indirectly responsible for changing its federal model. The change at issue, discussed below, reinforces the fundamental tenet of the MPC that courts should have primary responsibility for determining sentences, as opposed to legislatures or corrections officials.
First Thoughts About ‘Second Look’ and Other Sentence Reduction Provisions of the Model Penal Code: Sentencing RevisionMargaret Love and Cecelia M. Klingele
The financial cost of mass incarceration has prompted states to pass legislation providing for early release of prisoners. Although early release laws are frequently in tension with principles underlying sentencing systems, most have been passed without any discussion of how they might be justified in theory.