Reforming Federal Sentencing Guidelines: A Modest Proposal
This article examines the use of community-based sentencing options within federal sentencing guidelines and offers specific recommendations for expanding the use of these sanctions. We begin by describing how the types of offenders and types of crimes prosecuted in our federal court system have changed since the passage of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. We then examine how various types of alternative sanctions-probation, probation and confinement, and prison/community split sentences-are currently being used in conjunction with federal sentencing guidelines in the sentencing of this new generation of federal offenders. We consider the issue of whether specific changes in sentencing guidelines are needed to increase the use of alternative sanctions and reduce post-Booker guideline departures. We conclude by estimating the impact of both sentencing guidelines reform and community-based program reform on public safety and the cost of corrections.
Victims and Offenders
Causes and Prevention of Crime