Federal Sentencing Reform Measures “Stuck In Neutral Inside The Beltway”


“Notable (and arguably badly needed) federal sentencing proposals are now stuck in neutral inside the Beltway,” says Ohio State University law Prof. Douglas Berman on his Sentencing Law and Policy blog. Quoting former prosecutor Bill Otis, Berman says “it seems that all the bipartisan momentum that had built up around the Smarter Sentencing Act (and also some other reentry/back-end sentencing reform bills) has now come to something of a halt.”

Berman says he long has believed that significant reform in federal sentencing “would be an up-hill climb in a divided Congress, especially after seeing how hard it was to achieve (quite tepid) reform of extreme statutory crack sentencing provisions even when Congress was firmly in Democratic control.” He reminds readers of his previous speculation that the odds of significant change could go up if Republicans gain control of the Senate, which now seems a good bet.

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