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September 5, 2008

Effective NYU Center letter on USSC priorities

I noted in this recent post the launch of New York University School of Law's Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, and now I am pleased to spotlight this letter that the Center sent to the US Sentencing Commission proposing the forecasting of the fiscal costs, and the racial and ethnic impact of, pending federal criminal legislation to be a key Commission priority.  Here is how this letter begins:

The Center proposes that among the top priorities for the next amendment cycle, the Commission include two key issues that are currently absent from the Commission’s agenda.

First, given the rising costs of incarceration and the increasingly limited available federal prison space, the Commission should forecast the fiscal costs of any provision affecting sentencing in pending criminal legislation prior to congressional enactment and should similarly forecast the costs of any proposed Commission amendment to the Guidelines before those amendments go into effect.  This proposal will allow Congress to have valuable information about the costs of proposed legislation during its deliberations so that it can assess whether the legislation will make the most efficient use of federal resources in combating crime.

Second, given the racial and ethnic imbalance among the large federal prison population and the concerns this has raised in communities across the country, the Commission should also implement a program where it forecasts the racial and ethnic impact of any provision affecting sentencing in pending criminal legislation prior to congressional enactment and should likewise forecast the racial and ethnic impact of any proposed Commission amendment to the Guidelines. As with cost forecasting, this information would be enormously valuable to legislators as they consider what policies are the most appropriate for fighting crime and maintaining citizen confidence in the equal treatment of the law. Both of these recommendations are based on the successful experience in the States with similar forecasts. The federal government – with the Commission’s assistance – should examine these state practices with an eye toward adopting a version of them at the federal level.

September 5, 2008 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

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Comments

This is very hopeful.

Posted by: beth curtis | Sep 5, 2008 2:18:33 PM

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