Officials from 27 states – including lawmakers, attorneys, judges, professors, researchers and corrections officials–met in Oklahoma City this week to discuss sentencing policies as part of the annual conference of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. Among the topics during the two-day conference were costs and benefits in corrections and sentencing, how communities monitor sex offenders, risk assessment in sentencing guidelines, theories of sentencing and how to best communicate research to state policymakers.
The annual meeting of the association, founded in 1994, has evolved into a forum for officials from across the nation to compare notes about what works and what doesn’t in sentencing policy. “We are at a crossroads on sentencing,” said University of Minnesota law professor Kevin Reitz, who led a discussion on evolving sentencing guidelines. “We’re going to have to do something different … We’re going to have to get over the thought that we’re soft on crime because we’re addressing these issues. We’re going to have to get over the idea that we’re going to lock them up and leave them there.”