Sentencing reform is in the eye of the beholder. When most federal district court judges, assistant U.S. Attorneys, and sentencing policy analysts recently would have said that the Federal Guidelines should be made less prescriptive, less severe, and less rigid, Congressman Tom Feeney introduced and won passage of a bill meant to make the Guidelines more prescriptive, more severe, and more rigid.

"Sentencing reform" means very different things depending on whether the proponent wants sentencing made softer, tougher, fairer, more consistent, more efficient, more economical, more transparent, or more effective at preventing crime. Whether a proposed change counts in the eyes of others as a reform depends on what the proponent wants to accomplish and whether others think that a good thing...

 

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