CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"The Prisoners I Lose Sleep Over"

Federal judge Michael Ponsor has this op-ed piece at the Wall Street Journal advocating federal sentencing reform. In part:

The Smarter Sentencing Act would reduce 20-year mandatory sentences to 10, 10-year sentences to five, and five-year sentences to two years. Increased numbers of offenders with very modest criminal records would not face mandatory sentences at all. If adopted, the law would also permit thousands of prisoners to seek reduction of their prison terms to bring them in line with the Fair Sentencing Act. None of these changes would reduce the power of judges to slam the really bad actors. But they would permit judges to do what they are paid to do: use their judgment.

Our vast prison apparatus is too costly, but more important, it is unworthy of us as a free people. This new statute is well named—now is the time for smarter sentencing.

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