Nationwide Action Alert: Tell the US Sentencing Commission how to create a fairer, more just sentencing system

Source: Judge Carlton W. Reeves, Chair, U.S. Sentencing Commission 6/5/24

I’m writing to ask you for a small favor. Most summers, the Sentencing Commission announces the work we plan to prioritize over the coming year. This summer, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Commission’s creation (and twenty years post Booker), we’re doing something different. We’re asking people – including you – to tell us what to do this year and in the years to come.

My request is this: please take five minutes of your time to tell the Commission how we can create a fairer, more just sentencing system. Tell us how to revise the Guidelines. Tell us what issues to study or what data to collect. Tell us what workshops to conduct, what hearings to hold, what advisory groups to convene, or what ways the Commission can better serve you. Or even just tell us what big picture issues you’d like us to tackle – or what technical problems you’d like us to look into.

Trust me, I know how busy daily lives are, so we’ve made it easy to give us your thoughts.

You can type a paragraph (or even a sentence or two!) into our Public Comment Submission Portal at: https://comment.ussc.gov.  If you want to write a letter, you can submit it through the Portal, too, or via snail mail to United States Sentencing Commission, One Columbus Circle, N.E., Suite 2-500, Washington, D.C. 20002-8002, Attention: Public Affairs – Priorities Comment.

It doesn’t matter how you speak to us. And it doesn’t matter how short or long your comment is. What matters is that you speak to us. Please encourage your colleagues to do the same.

One comment can make the difference. Remember: when you speak to the Commission … you will be heard.

Sincerely,
Carlton W. Reeves

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Stop punishing people for life after their time has been served best sentencing guidelines i ever heard now follow them

First off, there needs to be a judicial oversight committee that can watch judges and DAs and insure they are following the laws themselves concerning the cases they are involved with, and that they and their families have no conflict of interest. I thought the US had such a system, but we are watching several high profile cases at present and clearly we do not have a system that keeps these people from manipulating the cases to their preference. Secondly, there needs to be some manner of uniformity across the country. I know there are sentencing guidelines, but the vast discrepancies between similar cases is very disconcerting. We see a 70 year old woman blocking a pro-lilfe center entrance gets a more lengthy sentence than a teenager who kills someone in a botched car jacking attempt. I think the entire country is tired of seeing all these discrepancies in sentences and clear bias within the entire DOJ. There appears to be nothing to hold them accountable for wrongs.

I think we all need to take this opportunity to very explicitly and clearly lay out what we want done. Let’s not use generalities and intangible concepts, let’s state what we want:

  1. Public registries need to be abolished at federal and state levels.
  2. Long term / lifetime sentences including supervised release, parole, probation should be applied in only severe cases.
  3. Polygraphs should be abandoned as part of any supervision program.
  4. Our prisons are packed, we need to help people integrate into society, not set them up for failure with residence restrictions, homelessness, joblessness and burdensome mandates that do nothing to keep society safe.

This is off the top of my head this morning, so not as good as I’d like just yet. I am going to pull up resources from the justice groups I follow for more tangible recommendations.

@Athena, et al

You are referring to without knowing it the American Law Institute (ALI) and the Model Penal Code (MPC) study they did and published with many comments from the masses here: Legal Scholars to Consider Elimination of Public Registry Next Week (ACSOL, 2 Jun 2021)

Highly recommend you dig into this, if you haven’t previously, and read up on the effort made then, the final doc with recommendations, and then press with it at least to the USSC to see how far it will go. They did a lot of good work that many state AGs weren’t happy with because it countered their efforts, which aren’t grounded in reality. There is quite a bit of info related to this topic within their efforts on this topic online using ALI MPC rewrite recommendations as well as reading about it at their website (linked above) in addition to other ACSOL posts here.

Following Delays, American Law Institute Gives Final Approval to Model Penal Code Revisions Regarding Sex Offense Registries (Mitchell Hamline School of Law, 3 Jun 2022, Dr. Ira Ellman)

This is literally a chance to flood them with all sorts of recommendations from this community here from coast to coast and those who fight for the community, but using appropriate respect and valid data to do it with. Maybe others here in the forum can help bring to light other threads and sources which this was discussed so cohesive writing can be sent forth. I’d say throw in the junk science polygraphs are overall, as you suggest as well, especially when used in this arena the forum is concerned with.

Last edited 12 days ago by TS

Our country shouldn’t be number 1 in incarceration rates and actually allow people second chances
with true criminal justice system reform. Stop being tough on crime and be smart on crime.

Punishment should fit the crime and not agendas

Follow the AMI recommendations regarding the sex offense registry. Get rid of polygraphs, Static 99, Civil Commitment, and other junk science. Use evidence instead of emotions and myths based off of fear.

I have time to ponder what I want to send, but first I have to clear my head It’s been a rough couple of days.

I could not get passed the Captcha. There does not seem to be a submit button to go to the next page. Is it me?

DONE! They will allow you to submit one pdf and comments. I combined the ALI MPC Article 213 doc along with a summary and comments provided by Professor Ira Ellman into one pdf, and I submitted lengthy commentary with facts and figures and a list of other credible sources.

Thank you TS for continuing to point me to the ALI and the ACSOL posting from 2021. I saved all of that, including the docs attached to the ACSOL posting, into my ALI file for future use.

The personal library I am creating is making it easier for me to respond to these action alerts because the work and wording is already created and I have been reusing my previous work!

Note: my submission focused on abolishing the sex offense registries altogether. There is a word limit and so I did not address lifetime parole and long term punishments, Civil Commitment, the Static99, Poly’s etc. I may try to submit another comment on these, but I have less experience with these issues and I recommend others speak up as well.