March 16, 2016 News on the 2016 Proposed Federal Sentencing Guideline Amendments

The United States Sentencing Commission has promulgated for public comment proposed Amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines to be effective November 2016. As far as reducing federal prison sentences, or otherwise reducing the overwhelming overcrowding of our federal prison system (and its budget), the proposed Amendments do little. The Commission is proposing amendments to the following areas: Compassionate release, Conditions of Probation and supervised release, animal fighting, child pornography and immigration. As to compassionate release, the Commission merely incorporated the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Policy Statement on compassionate release. As to conditions of SR, the Commission has proposed a “clarifying” amendment to all the standard conditions that is now in every federal inmates’ judgment. It has also proposed an increase and expand the penalties to animal fighting. Additionally it proposes a clarification of the child pornography guidelines now requiring a “knowing” mental state for an enhancement for peer to peer distribution. A reader friendly version of the proposed amendments can be found here.

Ever hopeful that the Commission would begin to adopt guidelines that reduce prison sentences in accordance with an evolving national consensus, again this year we are disappointed. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us