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Sentencing Reform Bill Research Paper

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Research paper, Pages 4 (939 words)



Research paper, Pages 4 (939 words)

The sentencing reform act is a bill that will take modest steps to alter the federal criminal justice system and will ease very punitive prison sentences at the federal level, this bill will only affect the federal system. The sentencing reform bill was passed on December 18, 2018. Donald Trump signed the sentencing reform bill.

The bill is significant because the bill benefits most federal prisoners. According to vox.com, The bill will make retroactive the reforms enacted by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine sentences at the federal level.

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This could also affect about 2,600 federal inmates. According to another source, nationalreview.com, drug-related robberies involving assault with a dangerous weapon are not excluded from the “exclusion-from-early-release” list which is really dumb to do because it’s a reform bill. Another problem with the reform bill is that using a deadly weapon to assault a law enforcement officer is early release eligible which is honestly a really stupid choice by the people that wrote/propose the bill.

Another problem with this bill is that people that have been charged with crimes such as, assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to a spouse or child, can get out of jail early just because the people that wrote this bill didn’t consider crimes such as this. Crimes such as drug-related robberies, deadly weapon assault to a law enforcement officer, assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to a spouse or child, violent carjacking resulting in aggravated assault, trafficking heroin and fentanyl, are not low level, non-violent crimes but remain early release eligible.

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There are even more crimes involving aggravated assault, sex offense crimes that are not in the reform bills exclusion list.

I do not agree with this bill because it has obvious flaws that can punish some low-level crimes but don’t punish some high-level crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon. This bill will let the federal criminals, that are eligible, to earn credits to leave prison earlier. This bill allows thousands of federal criminals including, violent criminals, sex offenders, etc to be released early even though it is only low-level, non-violent felons that are eligible for the early release.

There are two kinds of prison reform, the “front end” and the “back end”. According to vox.com, the “front end” changes are what people describe as sentencing reform. The “front end” reforms focus on reducing the number of people sent to prison and the number of time people spend in prison by changing what happens before someone is locked up. Basically, the process of someone getting arrested, prosecuted and then sentenced. Then there are “back end” reforms, these kinds reform bills focus on reducing prison time once people are already in prison or any other government confinement. For example, the prison may offer credits for good behavior that can be used to get somebody to get out of prison earlier than they were sentenced for. The sentencing reform bill focuses exclusively on the “back end”.

Another significant part about this bill is that the bill encourages inmates to participate in more vocational and rehabilitative programs by making them earn “earned time credits” that will allow them to get out of prison early but go to halfway houses or home confinement. The sentencing reform bill mitigates prison overcrowding, but also is that the education programs will reduce the likelihood of a formal inmate to commit another crime once released that both reduce both crime and confinement in the long term.

This bill also makes other changes focusing on improving conditions in prisons including banning the shackling of women during childbirth and requiring that inmates are placed closer to their families. Things that this bill won’t do (according to vox.com) are to reduce or limit mandatory minimum sentences for drugs or other offenses. “The reform of the federal system urgently needed to restore balance to a system” said americanbar.org. Many states are facing overcrowding prison growth and have enacted sentencing reforms to put alternatives to confinement and shorten for non-violent offenders, with good results. According to brennancenter.org, federal mandatory minimum sentences contributed to a surge of unnecessarily harsh prison sentences, especially for those convicted of nonviolent crimes that help the rise of mass incarceration in the United States.

I do not agree with this bill because non-violent criminals can get out of prison early while many non-violent crimes can still ruin lives. Some crimes that could ruin lives can include stealing money from an organization that helps people with disabilities. Some crimes can be non-violent but can more devastating than violent crimes. Some crimes that can be more devastating than violent crimes include, stealing someone’s money digitally through a bank or any other way a person can access another individual’s personal/savings account without that person’s permission. Another type of crime that can be devastating to another person’s life can be selling/trafficking drugs, drugs can make people do violent crimes for more drugs and can ruin lives. People like are commit non-violent crimes but they did more damage to more people’s lives than a violent crime which is typically just one person.

In conclusion, I do not agree with this sentencing reform bill mostly because many violent crimes can be eligible for earlier release while some non-violent aren’t eligible for the earlier release from prison. Another problem I have with this bill is that some non-violent that ruined lives can be eligible for earlier release while less devastating crimes are not eligible for earlier prison release. There are too many things that this bill has to fix.


  1. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/12/3/18122392/first-step-act-criminal-justice-reform-bill-congress
  2. https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/11/first-step-criminal-justice-reform-bill-whats-in-it/
  3. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/5/22/17377324/first-step-act-prison-reform-congress
  4. https://www.minnpost.com/national/2018/11/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-criminal-justice-reform-bill-that-might-just-might-pass-congress/
  5. https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/governmental_legislative_work/priorities_policy/criminal_justice_system_improvements/federalsentencingreform/
  6. https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2018/11/19/criminal-justice-reform-bill-trump
  7. https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/congress-poised-major-step-sentencing-reform
  8. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/12/18/18140973/first-step-act-criminal-justice-reform-senate-congress

Cite this essay

Sentencing Reform Bill Research Paper. (2020, Nov 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/sentencing-reform-bill-research-paper-essay

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