« Recent Harvard Law Review issue covers prison abolition | Main | "Individualized Executions" »

May 14, 2019

Is anyone collecting and analyzing sentence reduction orders under § 3582(c)(1) since passage of the FIRST STEP Act?

As regular readers know, in prior posts I have made much of a key provision of the FIRST STEP Act which now allows federal courts to directly reduce sentences under the so-called compassionate release statutory provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1) without awaiting a motion by the Bureau of Prisons.   I see this provision is as such a big deal because I think, if applied appropriately, this provision could and should enable many hundreds (and perhaps many thousands) of federal prisoners to have their excessive prison sentences reduced.

The value and impact this part of the FIRST STEP Act will turn on how judges approach compassionate release, which is one reason I am hopeful (but not optimistic) that the US Sentencing Commission will report real-time data on how this part of the new law is being applied.  Valuably, the FIRST STEP Act provides that "not later than 1 year after December 21, 2018, and once every year thereafter, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives a report on requests for sentence reductions pursuant to subsection (c)(1)(A)."  But yearly reports on this topic seem insufficient given that judges considering sentence reduction motions, as well as lawyers litigating them, would benefit greatly from knowing more immediately about what kinds of motions are being brought and granted.

Last month, DOJ reported that "22 inmates have already received sentence reductions under this program," but I was unable to find any sentence reduction orders under § 3582(c)(1) via a quick Westlaw search.  I have blogged here and here reports on some sentence reductions, and a helpful lawyer recently sent me a copy of another such order in a Tennessee case from earlier this month (Download Pesterfield Order).  I will try to post in this space any news and information I receive on this front, but the question in the title of this post might be sensibly recast as a wishful thinking: "I sure hope someone is collecting and analyzing sentence reduction orders under § 3582(c)(1)."  If anyone is doing so, please loop me in as I fear there is still too much darkness and uncertainty in an arena that now presents the opportunity for much more transparency and light. 

A few prior related posts:


Prior to FIRST STEP:

May 14, 2019 at 10:28 AM | Permalink


I would love to see data by circuit, district and judge. Mary Price at famm is working hard on petitions.

Posted by: beth | May 16, 2019 2:25:52 PM

My husband got a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence and is 64 years old. will he be eligible for 2/3 time completed over 60 years old on the first step act bill passed in December 2018?

Posted by: darlene ford | Jul 30, 2019 10:34:21 AM

My husband has served 9 years out of his 12 and a half year sentence non violent drug charges , in August 2019 the U.S agreed to vacate a charge but wants to keep his sentence the same. Now we are waiting to hear back on a resentencing hearing in hopes the First Step Act will facilitate The possibility of his release sooner. I look forward becoming a positive testimony. The system is indeed broken and we have to start somewhere.

Posted by: Jacqueline Hidalgo | Nov 23, 2019 9:09:43 AM

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