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
In May 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the First Step Act on a bipartisan vote of 360-59. Since then, the First Step Act has been assailed by some on the political right as being “soft on crime,” and on the political left for not going far enough to address unfair sentencing practices. I…
The U.S. Sentencing Commission is back to work with the Senate’s confirmation of two additional Sentencing Commissioners. The Commission has scheduled a hearing on April 18, 2017, to discuss amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines for 2017. Some of the proposed amendments include: An amendment that would provide a lower base offense level for first-time offenders.…
With the passage of the First Step Act of 2018, there’s a whole lot of people, both in and out of prison, that have kicked their hustle game into high gear. But this can be very dangerous, particularly when the individual giving “advice” does not know what they are talking about. That is on top…