March 22, 2018
Interesting new US Sentencing Commission analysis of possible impact of Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017
I just noticed on the US Sentencing Commission's website this recent letter from the USSC's Director of its Office of Research and Data to an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. Here is how the letter gets started:
The Congressional Budget Office has requested the U.S. Sentencing Commission to assist it in its assessment of the budgetary impact of S. 1917, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, were it to be enacted. Enclosed with this letter is the Commission’s estimate of the impact of several sections of this bill on the sentences that would be imposed on federal offenders as well as the impact on the size of the federal prison population.
As you can see on the enclosed, the Commission has estimated the number of offenders who would be affected by each section of the bill for which an estimate was possible. Some of those sections have both prospective and retroactive impacts. For the provisions that have both, the Commission has provided separate estimates of the number of offenders affected. The data used for this analysis was Commission data, however the retroactive analyses were based, in part, on information from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) as to offenders who were incarcerated as of October 28, 2017.
The detailed "Sentence and Prison Impact Estimate Summary" serves to confirm my long-standing belief that the corrections provisions of SRCA could and would impact many tens of thousands more prisoners than the sentencing reform provisions. In rough particulars, the USSC analysis suggests about 7,000 current prisoners could benefit from the retroactive sentencing provisions of Title I of the SRCA, whereas over 75,000 current federal prisoners could be eligible for the corrections credits of Title II of the SRCA. (Prospectively, according to the USSC analysis, a few thousand new offenders would benefit from the sentencing provisions of Title I of the SRCA. And, though not discussed by the USSC, it is also likely tens of thousands of new offenders would also be able to benefit from the corrections credits of Title II of the SRCA.)
As previously reported, though the SRCA passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 16-5 vote last month, the White House has formally expressed support only for the prison reform components of the bill. Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Grassley has indicated he wants to keep pushing the SRCA in its current form, but other important GOP leaders in the Senate and elsewhere seem prepared and eager only to move forward with prison reform at this time. In light of these new USSC data, I sincerely hope Senator Grassley and lots of criminal justice reform advocates will appreciate that a huge number of current and future federal prisoners could and would benefit from enacting just the corrections piece of the SRCA. Given widespread support for reform provisions that could have widespread impact, I hope we see some movement on the corrections front soon. But, sadly, given an array of problematic personalities and politics, I am not optimistic.
A few prior related posts:
- Is it time for new optimism or persistent pessimism on the latest prospects for statutory federal sentencing reform?
- Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 now has 20 sponsors in the Senate but...
- Mapping the politics and making the case against the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017
- AG Sessions writes to Senator Grassley to say passages of SRCA "would be a grave error"
- Interesting statements from Senate Judiciary Committee on Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 ... and now passage by 16-5 vote!
- Trump White House expresses opposition to sentencing reform part of SRCA of 2017
- Senator Grassley talking up Senate vote on his SRCA bill along with any prison reform bill lacking sentencing reforms
March 22, 2018 at 09:44 AM | Permalink