We are a week into 2018 and there is much buzz about what lies ahead in the year from the courts, Congress, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission for federal prison and sentencing reform. Here's a summary of some of the highlights.
(a) Congress - Sentencing Reform
Different bills remain under consideration, but none have yet to receive any kind of “floor” vote. Any proposed legislation that is not signed into law by December 31, 2018, will “die” and must be reintroduced in 2019.
Below are the top bills I am watching for possible passage in 2018.
- H.R. 3356: Prison Reform and Redemption Act
Sponsor: Rep. Doug Collins [R-GA9]
Introduced - Jul 24, 2017
- S. 1933: Smarter Sentencing Act of 2017
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Lee [R-UT]
Introduced - Oct 5, 2017
- S. 842: Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2017
Sponsor: Sen. Cory Booker [D-NJ]
Introduced - Apr 5, 2017
Ordered Reported - May 17, 2017
- H.R. 4261: SAFE Justice Act
Sponsor: Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott [D-VA3]
Introduced - Nov 6, 2017
- H.R. 2899: Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R-WI5]
Introduced - Jun 13, 2017
- S. 1994: CORRECTIONS Act
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX]
Introduced - Oct 19, 2017
- S. 1917: Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017
Sponsor: Sen. Charles “Chuck” Grassley [R-IA]
Introduced - Oct 4, 2017
(b) U.S. SENTENCING COMMISSION - Sentencing Reform
As many of you will recall, the Sentencing Commission was inundated with over 80,000 letters in support of a proposal that would reduce the “Sentencing Table,” across the board, by two levels. Gone would be “life-life” ranges under the proposal. We will know soon if the Commission intends to advance this idea.
The meeting will be held at 10:30 AM on Friday, January 19, 2018, in Washington, DC.
According to the announcement from the Commission, the agenda for the meeting is as follows:
Vote to Adopt August 2017 Meeting Minutes
Report from the Chair
Possible Vote to Publish Proposed Guideline Amendments and Issues for Comment
The Commission is considering other possible amendments to the Guidelines and I will report about those after the hearing, too.
(c) SUPREME COURT
The Supreme Court has a number of cases that we are awaiting decisions in. Expect news from the Supreme Court soon!
Recommended for you
Home confinement for federal prisoners is about to expand with the release of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) new April 4, 2019, Operations Memorandum, Home Confinement Under the First Step Act. You can access a copy of the entire operations memorandum here: BOP Home Confinement Memorandum. We have previously reported about the BOP’s implementation of…
A bipartisan group of representatives have introduced HR 3356, the Prison Reform and Redemption Act. The bill has seven cosponsors, one of whom is Mr. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)—the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. With Rep. Goodlatte supporting the bill, it has a greater chance of making it out of the Judiciary Committee. But the…
On November 14, 2018, criminal justice and prison reform advocates finally heard what they had wanted to hear for almost a year: President Donald Trump is “thrilled to announce his support” for the bipartisan First Step Act criminal justice reform legislation. With President Trump’s support of this legislation the last true obstacle to the First…