Abstract

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. This lack of explicit theoretical foundation leaves the new laws vulnerable to criticism. By contrast, the American Law Institute’s ongoing revision of the Model Penal Code: Sentencing has resulted in the development of three model sentence reduction provisions, each providing a means of reducing an already-imposed sentence based upon a distinctive theoretical justification. This Article discusses each provision and argues that by confronting many of the difficult structural and theoretical questions underlying the practice of early release, the Model Penal Code’s sentence reduction proposals provide a framework for resolving normative concerns when designing ways to mitigate the severity of already-imposed sentences.

 

Citation:
Colgate Love, Margaret and Klingele, Cecelia M., First Thoughts About ‘Second Look’ and Other Sentence Reduction Provisions of the Model Penal Code: Sentencing Revision (August 17, 2011). University of Toledo Law Review, 2011; University of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1169. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1911381

Margaret Love

Law Office of Margaret Love

Margaret Love practices law in Washington, DC, specializing in executive clemency and restoration of rights, and sentencing and corrections policy. Recognized as a national expert on clemency and related issues, she has written and consulted widely on mechanisms for reduction of mandatory prison sentences and relief from the adverse long-term effects of a criminal record. 

Cecelia M. Klingele

Associate Reporter, Model Penal Code: Sentencing

Cecelia M. Klingele is an Assistant Professor at The University of Wisconsin Law School.  Her academic research focuses on criminal justice administration, with an emphasis on community supervision of those on conditional release.  She serves as a faculty associate of the Frank J. Remington Center and the Institute for Research on Poverty, and a research affiliate of the University of Minnesota Robina Institute's Sentencing Law & Policy Program.

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