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Panel Clears Sentencing Reform Bill Despite Opposition

Although Attorney-General Jeff Session warned a day earlier that passing the measure would be a grave error that risked putting the very worst criminals back into our communities, on Feb. 15 Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) pushed a sentencing reform bill (S. 1917) through his panel without amendment, on a 16-5 vote. Grassley

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Weighing Prison Time for Juvenile Offenders

By Christopher Zoukis The debate on whether or not teens should be tried as adults and be locked up in adult prisons rages on on each side of the issue. Some take a more compassionate stance that young offenders deserve second chances after making big mistakes, especially if their crimes are nonviolent in nature. On

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AG Sessions Maps How Feds Will Fight Violent Crime, Drugs

  In a March 15 session with law enforcement officials in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined the administration’s plans to combat what he described as the beginning of an increase in the nation’s rate of violent crime. Breaking sharply from the Obama administration’s stand, Sessions said he plans to bring back aggressive

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Grassley Prods Silent BOP on Remedies for Wrong Release Dates

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) is demanding answers from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on why it hasn’t acted on recommendations made last May by the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general to reduce incorrect incarceration release dates. First, a little history: Jermaine Hickman, convicted in 2007 of bank robbery, was supposed to

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AG Sessions Says Private Prisons Are Back in Business with BOP

Well, that didn’t last long. You’ll remember the fanfare with which the Obama administration last Aug. 18 announced its plan to phase out all use of private-run prisons by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The campaign was kicked off a week earlier with the unveiling of a study from the DOJ Inspector General, which

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New Supreme Court Term Includes Major Cases Affecting Inmates

By Christopher Zoukis What will happen with the one U.S. Supreme Court vacancy after the death last February of Justice Antonin Scalia will undoubtedly be decided after the results of November’s election. But the high court new term, which began October 3rd, already includes several major cases that could redefine the validity of sentences handed

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What Maryland is missing from the recidivism puzzle: mandatory minimum sentencing

By Christopher Zoukis Maryland incarceration rates have been steadily growing in recent years, as has the average sentence length. In response, The Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, made up of judges, lawyers, law enforcement, and lawmakers, was struck earlier this year to explore the reasons behind the booming prison population, and they are set to put forth

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Judicial Discretion: There’s good news, and some pretty bad news

It’s heartening to know that the American public has gotten to the point where it almost universally recognizes the failure of mandatory minimum sentencing policies to make our communities stronger. But as greater emphasis is being placed on the importance judicial discretion in sentencing, a new comprehensive study from the Bureau of Justice examining this

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Mandatory minimum sentencing: A tragedy of comedic proportions

Just as Obama did with his landmark speech at the NAACP several weeks ago, comedian and host of Last Week TonightJon Oliver has thrust the issue of mandatory minimum sentencing into the spotlight of public discourse. In a segment both critically astute and emotionally wrenching, Oliver demonstrated that comedians are amongst those taking most seriously

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