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Feeling ‘Dirty’ About Sentencing

Retired Federal Judge Schira Scheindlin has said mandatory-minimum requirements made her feel “dirty.” Other judges have joined the chorus of justice reformers who complain rigorous sentencing guidelines are unfair. But are they addressing the wrong problem?

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Home-State Paper Urges Cruz To Support Sentencing-Reform Bill

For more than a year, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) has been working to fix the way the government decides who goes to federal prison, how long they stay, and what happens when they get out. Working with liberals and conservatives, he's gambling that a deeply divided Washington can accomplish big things, even in an election year, says the Dallas Morning News in an editorial. Twenty-eight senators from both parties have co-sponsored a bill that would adopt reforms already […]

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For Sentencing Reform Bill To Pass, Cornyn Must Convince GOP Colleagues

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), a former judge and attorney general, is a devoted believer in the pending federal sentencing overhaul bill. Now, reports the New York Times, he just has to convert doubting Republican colleagues. Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican and a main author of the legislation, which would cut some sentences and ease re-entry after prison, is working to address fears from fellow Republicans that passage of the bill could set loose some dangerous offenders and diminish […]

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Making Room for Justice: 2016 John Jay/H.F. Guggenheim Conference on Crime in America

(FORTHCOMING) Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana and Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York lead the distinguished group of speakers at this year's 11th annual John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America, scheduled for Feb 25-26, 2016, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The symposium, Making Room for Justice: Crime, Public Safety & the Choices Ahead for Americans, will explore the […]

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Grassley Defends Sentencing Reform, Says Critics Wrong About Releases

NPR asks Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), why senators considering a sentencing reform bill aren’t repealing criticized mandatory minimum sentences outrigh? “As a practical matter, you’d never get a bill brought up” if it proposed to abolish all such penalties, he says, adding, “There’s still a feeling of great law enforcement value in mandatory minimums because when you have mandatory minimums, then there’s plea-bargaining, and when you get plea-bargaining, you can sometimes get a lot of information about […]

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States At Criminal Justice Crossroads: Which Penalties To Cut Or Toughen?

After decades of “tough on crime” policies, many states are taking a hard look at the way people are charged, how much time they serve, and what happens when they are released, reports Stateline. Many states are looking at growing prison populations, obstacles to drug treatment, and high recidivism rates as reasons to re-evaluate their criminal justice systems. Many states are at a crossroads, weighing whether to build new prisons or change how they sentence people and guide them through […]

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Senate Republican Rift Over Sentencing Reform Could Kill It

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who’s already made waves railing against the Iran nuclear deal and government surveillance programs, is leading a rebellion against a bipartisan effort to overhaul the criminal justice system. He hopes to torpedo one of the only pieces of major legislation that could pass in President Obama’s final year, Politico reports. GOP tensions over a bill that would effectively loosen some mandatory minimum sentences spilled over during a party lunch last week, when Cotton lobbied his colleagues […]