« Should drug warriors retreat on pot prohibition to deploy needed forces to a new "war on sugar" front? | Main | Some notable new commentary on Padilla »

February 2, 2012

New report from The Sentencing Project on latest state-level sentencing reforms

I received news of this notable new report on state-level sentencing reforms coming from The Sentencing Project.  The report is titled “The State of Sentencing 2011: Developments in Policy and Practice,” is authored by Nicole Porter, and is summarized this way via the e-mail I got yesterday:

The report highlights 55 reforms in 29 states and documents a growing trend to reform sentencing policies and scale back the use of imprisonment without compromising public safety.  The report provides an overview of recent policy reforms in the areas of sentencing, probation and parole, collateral consequences, and juvenile justice.  Highlights include:

Sentence modifications - Four states -- Connecticut, Ohio, Nebraska, and North Dakota -- established sentence modification mechanisms that allow correctional officials to reduce the prison sentences of eligible prisoners;

Drug offense reforms - Four states -- Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, and Ohio -- revised penalties for certain drug offenses and authorized alternatives to prison as a sentencing option in specified circumstances.  In addition, Idaho and Florida expanded the eligibility criteria for drug courts in order to expand their impact.

Death penalty - Illinois abolished the death penalty, becoming the sixteenth state to eliminate the sentencing option;

Probation revocation reforms - North Carolina restricted the use of prison as a sentencing option for certain persons who violate the conditions of probation; and

Juvenile offender sentencing reforms - Georgia authorized sentence modifications for certain juvenile defendants with felony offenses by allowing judges to depart from the statutory range when considering the youth’s background.

February 2, 2012 at 03:42 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New report from The Sentencing Project on latest state-level sentencing reforms:


Wake up Missouri law makers change the 85% law to 60% especially for first time offenders.If someone has been in prison before or on papers for serious crimes they should get the 85& but all others should get less just something to think about with all the $ problems the government is having.

Posted by: Rebecca Strickland | Feb 4, 2012 11:08:22 AM

"...established sentence modification mechanisms that allow correctional officials to reduce the prison sentences of eligible prisoners;..."

Any decision as to the violent tendencies of the inmate should be based on the original indictment, and not on the fictional downgraded adjudicated pled charge.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 4, 2012 9:38:05 PM

I agree. I really think that first time offenders should serve 60% of their sentence instead 85%. Is there any way we can vote can change that in the state of Missouri?

Posted by: Hillary | Jan 4, 2013 9:00:50 AM

All prisoners that are first time offenders should be judged on their efforts and merits while incarcerated and not by the 85% rule. Not just because of overcrowding and financial stress but because the longer they are institutionalized the more the chance they will be back again. If they work at a job and perform well in all areas they should get a second chance of say 60% of their time. If they come back again 85% sounds about right doesn`t it.
Help them to learn a trade not just warehouse them that`s rehabilatation.
We Pray for common sense.
Highest regards,
Bill White

Posted by: Bill White | Feb 10, 2013 4:02:35 PM

I agree. I believe and stand firm on first time offenders should be given a second chance. When an offender has proven themselves while in prision that they can be a focused citizen while in prision by going to college to work on and recieving a degree, so they can be a better person when they are released, holding a job (or jobs) while in prision, and being an ideal inmate while in prision (staying focused and staying out of trouble). I agree the 85% sentencing should be reduced to 60%. It is only fair that everybody deserves a second chance at being able to prove themselves to being a better person.After all the government even said that prisions were over crowded and it also was costing them like crazy to house these people. Why not start here?

Posted by: S.Grant | May 18, 2013 7:25:09 AM

I think it should not only be lowered for first time offenders, but there should be differences based on the offense(s). For instance, a violent offender should serve a higher percentage of time before a chance at parole than a non-violent offender.

Posted by: M Taylor | Oct 20, 2014 6:50:05 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB