Federal Sentencing Panel Backs Alternatives To Prison


The U.S. Sentencing Commission has sent Congress amendments to advisory federal sentencing guidelines that would increase the availability of alternatives to prison and would alter the sentencing of corporate offenders, reports the National Law Journal. Under the alternatives-to-prison proposal, courts could depart from the guidelines when an offender’s criminal activity was related to drug or alcohol abuse or significant mental illness and when sentencing options, such as home or community confinement or intermittent confinement, would serve a specific treatment purpose.

“The commission has heard from virtually every sector of the criminal justice community that there is a great need for alternatives to incarceration,” said Chairman William Sessions III. “Providing flexibility in sentencing for certain low-level, non-violent offenders helps lower recidivism, is cost effective, and protects the public.” The commission also proposed changes on the sentencing of organizations. Most importantly for corporations, a larger number of offending organizations would be eligible for a credit for having an effective ethics and compliance program.

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