70% of drug trafficking offenders would see their sentencing reduced on average 11 months but have the potential to have their sentencing reduced between 24 and 37 months.
Another change in the guidelines is the drug quantity table. The drug quantity table has been lowered by two levels – before drug quantity levels were set above the mandatory minimum penalties, drug quantity was the primary driver of all drug sentencing.
Before there was only one specific offense characteristic in the drug guideline now there are 16 specific offense characteristics including enhancement for violence, firearms, aggravating role, and a host of other factors to help ensure that dangerous offenders receive longer sentencing.
Quantity while still an important proxy for seriousness no longer has to be quite as central a calculation.
Before guideline sentencing arrangements were set above mandatory minimum sentencing to provide incentive for lower-level offenders to plead guilty.
The commission did a study to determine the recidivism factor and determined that there was no difference in the recidivism numbers for someone who served their full time, two years, or five years which also led them to the decision of reducing sentences.
The amendment is retroactive (like it is unfair for people today to get less of a charge for individuals who are in prison 10 to 15 years ago for the same amount but received larger greater time).
Once the amendments take affect the sentencing court can consider a possible sentence and reduction for inmates meeting certain criteria set by 18 United States code section 3582c2 and the commissions policy statement 1b110. The data estimates that 46,000 will be eligible for sentence reduction, the average sentence reduction will be 18% or 25 months -current average sentence is 11 years, under the new guidelines it’s nine years.
Drug amendment reduction went into effect November 1, 2014. Qualifying inmates can begin to apply for reduction of sentencing November 1, 2014, earliest that any offender can be released is November 1, 2015 , However the commission anticipates that the courts will begin considering petitions for sentencing reduction and entering orders. granting those reductions November 1, 2014 Provided that the orders are executed on November 1, 2015 or later
The reason why the commission voted to delay the application process of reduction of sentencing to be able to effectively address risk of Public Safety, also reduce the difficulty of the change being also for retroactive, and it will allow judges to be able to handle the initial influx of motions for reduced sentencing, and be able to carefully review every case to determine if the sentence reduction is appropriate. Second will ensure that the Bureau of Prisons can give every offender the usual transitional services and opportunities including halfway house, home confinement, that help increase the chances for a successful reentry into society, allows the Officer of Probation and pretrial services adequate time to prepare so that release offenders can be effectively supervised.
There are three criteria for an offender to be genuinely eligible for a reduction of sentence. First – offender must be serving a term of imprisonment, the guideline range applicable to the offender must have been lowered according to the 2014 drug amendment, and the offender must not be already scheduled to be released prior to November 1, 2015.
Who is not eligible for a reduction of sentencing – The vigils who were involved with large drug quantities, level of drug type, the career offender guideline, the reduced term of imprisonment cannot be less than what the offender has already served, some defendants who did not receive a government motion for offering substantial assistance may have a mandatory minimum penalty which is in excess of the applicable guideline range.
When an offender is eligible, the judge is not required to reduce the sentencing, the judge has factors in the 1b110 law that he must consider to determine if the reduction is warranted, the items that he will consider is also included 18 USC section 3553a public Safety and the defendants post sentencing conduct.
The United States sentencing commission has the statutory duty to ensure that the federal prison population will not exceed capacity
Reducing the federal prison population has become an urgent issue with the sentencing commission.
The federal prison population is three times more than what it was in 1991.
Federal prisons are 32% over capacity and 52% for the highest security facilities.