USSC Issues Press Release Regarding Amendments to Federal Sentencing Guidelines

As we reported last week, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) has been voting on proposed amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Today the USSC issued a press release explaining additional amendments, including:

• Expanding the availability of alternatives to incarceration;
• Amending policy statements regarding age, mental and emotional conditions, physical condition, and military service to recognize their potential relevance;
• Criminal history calculation changes we discussed in this post last week;
• Expanding the guideline for offenses involving individual rights to include new hate crime offenses; and • Changing the guidelines regarding sentencing organizations by clarifying required remediation efforts and reporting obligations for effective compliance and ethics programs.

Although the Commission has not made the specific language of its proposed amendments public, we are especially anxious to see what the Commission has to say about the availability of alternatives to incarceration. In the press release the Commission mentioned that it has already agreed to amend the guidelines by extending Zone B of the sentencing table by an additional offense level. In other words, under the Commission’s proposed amendment, an individual with a final offense level of 11 will no longer be required to go to prison if a Judge exercises her discretion to allow home confinement in lieu of institutional confinement.

Read the press release here.