Crime: Shorter Sentences, More Judicial Leeway: What the Criminal Justice Bill Would Do - PressFrom - US
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CrimeShorter Sentences, More Judicial Leeway: What the Criminal Justice Bill Would Do

04:35  15 november  2018
04:35  15 november  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

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Bill Would DoShorter Sentences , More Judicial Leeway : What the Criminal Justice Bill Would A federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. A bipartisan bill would reduce the prison terms many The proposal would allow for shorter prison terms and more judicial discretion in sentencing

Finally, the bill would allow offenders sentenced before a 2010 reduction in the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine to petition for their cases to be re-evaluated. Shorter Sentences , More Judicial Leeway : What the Criminal Justice Bill Would Do .

Shorter Sentences, More Judicial Leeway: What the Criminal Justice Bill Would Do© Julie Denesha/Getty Images A federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. A bipartisan bill would reduce the prison terms many federal inmates face.

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he would support a bipartisan proposal to change the nation’s sentencing and prison laws, clearing a major obstacle to passage of the largest overhaul of the federal corrections system in decades.

Even with Mr. Trump’s support, however, lawmakers face a year-end deadline to approve the bill before the current session of Congress ends, and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, cautioned that it would be competing with other priorities.

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Sentencing Leeway . The criminal justice legislation covers a broad range of categories. If it passes, the bill would be a triumph for President Obama, who has made criminal - justice reform one. Potentially thousands of drug offenders could have long sentences for crack cocaine offenses

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell told President Trump in a private meeting on Thursday that there is not likely to be enough time to bring a bipartisan criminal justice bill up for a vote this year, regardless Shorter Sentences , More Judicial Leeway : What the Criminal Justice Bill Would Do .

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The proposal, which would generally allow for shorter prison terms and more judicial discretion in sentencing, would have more of an effect on future inmates, though some measures would apply to current federal prisoners.

Here is some of what the legislation, called the First Step Act, would do:

Federal judges would have more discretion to bypass mandatory minimums and lighten drug sentences.

This would have a significant effect on African-Americans, who have faced much higher incarceration rates on drug crimes than white offenders.

Under the new guidelines, the mandatory minimum sentence for serious violent crimes or serious drug offenses would be reduced to 15 years from 20 years.

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Criminal justice is the delivery of justice to those who have committed crimes . The criminal justice system is a series of government agencies and institutions whose goals are to identify and catch unlawful individuals to inflict a form of punishment on them.

The bill would not affect state prisons. It only covers federal prisoners, who make up less than 10 percent of America's prison population. A major provision of the bill gives judges more leeway to diverge from strict mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders with criminal histories.

The guidelines would also eliminate the “three strikes” penalty that calls for offenders to face life in prison after committing a third crime. This penalty has long been criticized because it can result in an inmate serving a life sentence for three minor, nonviolent crimes. The current sentence of life would be reduced to 25 years, and the category of offenders who could receive the penalty would be narrowed.

Sentences would no longer be ‘stacked’ for first-time offenders charged with federal crimes while in possession of a firearm.

Getting rid of the so-called stacking mechanism for first-time offenders would address what some have said is a misinterpretation of the law. Currently, if offenders are caught in possession of or use a firearm in connection with other federal crimes, such as drug trafficking, their sentence could increase an additional five to 25 years for each offense. The elimination would affect about 60 offenders a year, according to estimates from the United States Sentencing Commission based on an analysis of an earlier version of the bill in August.

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There is just one problem: Senior Senate authors of a long-stalled but much more comprehensive criminal justice package are steadfastly opposed to the alternative plan. They consider it an insufficient half-measure for its focus on prison programs without changes in federal sentencing laws.

A Criminal Justice Bill Has Broad Bipartisan Support. Why That's Not Enough. The legislation would give judges more leeway when sentencing non-violent criminals , roll back mandatory minimums and scrap the disparity between crack and power cocaine that is widely recognized as racist.

Proponents of changing this calculation point to Weldon H. Angelos, who at age 25 was sentenced to 55 years in prison for being in possession of a firearm when he was caught selling small bags of marijuana to a police informant. At the time, the federal judge who sentenced him acknowledged the stiff penalty, but said his hands were tied by the law. After appeals and pleas for clemency, Mr. Angelos was eventually released from prison in 2016 after serving a quarter of his sentence.

The new rule would not apply retroactively to the roughly 700 inmates who are already serving such sentences.

Judges would have more leeway to sidestep mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders.

Judges could more widely ignore mandatory minimum sentencing rules for nonviolent drug offenders with the expansion of what is called the “drug safety valve.”

As it stands now, judges can sidestep mandatory minimum sentences for a nonviolent drug offender with a minimal criminal history who also meets other specific criteria.

Under the bill, judges could use their discretion for offenders with a slightly higher record of criminal history. This could affect about 2,000 offenders each year, according to government calculations. It would not affect current inmates.

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The phrase criminal justice system refers to a collection of federal, state, and Judicial review gives the courts the power to evaluate legislative acts in terms of whether they conform to the Constitution. Then, too, state, county, and city criminal justice agencies provide most of the protection from

Restricting the judicial review process to specialist courts working to fixed timetables where only individuals or The maximum length of custodial sentencing for online harassment was increased from six months to ^ " Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (HL Bill 43)". www.publications.parliament.uk.

Potentially thousands of drug offenders could have long sentences for crack cocaine offenses shortened.

A 2010 law intended to address the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine offenders and powder cocaine offenders would be applied retroactively — covering inmates incarcerated for crack cocaine offenses before Aug. 2, 2010.

For years, critics have said the sentencing disparity disproportionately affects black people, who have been sentenced to longer periods of incarceration for crack offenses than white offenders charged with powder cocaine offenses.

Although the reductions are not automatic, nearly 3,000 inmates could be affected by this change.

Inmates would have new incentives to maintain good behavior in prison and to avoid reoffending once released.

Inmates would be rewarded more for consecutive days of good behavior while incarcerated under a tweaking of how the Federal Bureau of Prisons currently calculates such incentives.

The law would also provide new incentives for inmates to shave time off their sentences. For instance, if an inmate participated in an activity or a program to address recidivism, that would lead to days off their sentences. More than 75,000 inmates would be eligible for this benefit.

Pregnant women in federal custody would no longer be shackled.

For years, human rights advocates have argued for better treatment and care of pregnant women while they are incarcerated, providing examples of female inmates who were in labor as their legs were shackled. Under the new law, corrections officers could no longer restrain pregnant inmates with shackles.

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