Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reforms coming in Federal Sentencing?

Judge William Sessions, who was nominated Monday to be chairman of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, hopes to continue reforming federal sentencing guidelines to address prison overcrowding. "We're at a particular point in history where prisons are incredibly overcrowded," Sessions said. "We're also at a particular point in time in which there's a potential for real change."...

Options other than standard incarceration should be used more to address prison overcrowding, Sessions said. That includes drug treatment courts, placement in home confinement or community confinement, and split sentences in which part of a sentence is served in prison and part is served in the community.

Sessions also hopes to make rehabilitation a higher priority in federal sentences. "For the last 15 years there's been little interest in rehabilitation," Sessions said. Instead, punishment has been the priority. "A person commits a crime, and they get X," he said. "We're going back to, 'How do we get these people rehabilitated so when they get out of prison, they're not a danger?'"

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