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September 4, 2019

US Sentencing Commission releases latest data report on crack offense resentencings thanks to FIRST STEP Act

Late Tuesday afternoon the US Sentencing Commission released this updated new data report titled "First Step Act of 2018 Resentencing Provisions Retroactivity Data Report."  The introduction to the report provides this context and overview:

On December 21, 2018, the President signed into law the First Step Act of 2018.  Section 404 of that act provides that any defendant sentenced before the effective date of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (August 3, 2010) who did not receive the benefit of the statutory penalty changes made by that Act is eligible for a sentence reduction as if Sections 2 and 3 of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 were in effect at the time the offender was sentenced.  The First Step Act authorizes the defendant, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, the attorney for the Government, or the court to make a motion to reduce an offender’s sentence.

The data in this report represents information concerning motions for a reduced sentence pursuant to Section 404 of the First Step Act which the courts have granted.  The data in this report reflects all motions granted through July 31, 2019....

This new data from the USSC show that 1,674 prisoners were granted sentence reductions, and of those "in 561 cases the court sentenced the offender to the length of time he or she had served to that date."  In all the other cases, the average sentence reduction was 69 months of imprisonment.

As I have highlighted before, the FSA retroactivity provision of the FIRST STEP Act was only a small piece of the legislation, and yet these data show how this small piece has had big impact. In the course of eight months, this part of the FIRST STEP Act has shortened nearly 1700 sentences by an average of nearly 6 years amounting to around 10,000 prison years saved.

September 4, 2019 at 01:36 AM | Permalink


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