Federal Sentencing Reporter


The Federal Sentencing Reporter was launched more than two decades ago by legal experts and scholars Daniel J. Freed and Marc L. Miller, in collaboration with the Vera Institute of Justice. It is the only academic journal in the United States that focuses on sentencing law, policy, and reform.

Vera and the Federal Sentencing Reporter share an approach to policy change that relies on information, analytical examination, and innovation. Rare among scholarly journals, the Federal Sentencing Reporter focuses—in its authorship and readership—on academics as well as practitioners. In its pages, conversations take place among judges, lawyers, policymakers, and scholars. The publication is an intellectual resource that people in the field turn to for solutions and that academics rely on to propose, learn about, and discuss new ideas. Each issue offers in-depth analysis on a wide range of topics related to sentencing policies and practices. Recent issues have examined California’s Realignment policy, chronicled trends in white collar sentencing, and provided a detailed look at federal drug sentencing law and policy.

The Federal Sentencing Reporter is published five times a year. For each issue, Vera posts on its web site the “Editor’s Observations” (a regular feature that highlights the themes of the issue), a selected article, and the table of contents. Other articles, subscription services, and archives are available through University of California Press

Volume: 26, Number: 5
June 2014

Gauging the Enduring Impact of Sentencing Reform

Excerpted from the Editor's Notes:

It is difficult to believe that ten years have elapsed since the Supreme Court issued its Blakely decision. American sentencing law and policy feel very different today than they did in 2004. Many then believed modern sentencing systems were destined always to be on a legislatively driven, inexorable march to ever-greater severity. Many predicted that Congress and state legislatures were sure to swiftly respond to the Blakely decision and the follow-up Booker ruling by enacting ever more and ever more severe sentencing statutes with fixed statutory penalties.

A decade later, sentencing remains the center of a vigorous debate about what we want from our criminal justice system and even who we are as a society, but the terms of the debate now largely revolve around how much to lower prison terms rather than how much to raise them. This Issue of FSR examines the continued constitutional fallout from Blakely, and the current policy debates that have come to define modern sentencing systems.

Editor's Observations
Sentencing’s Wild Ride Continues
Steven L. Chanenson, Editor,  Federal Sentencing Reporter, and Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law, and Douglas A. Berman, Editor,  Federal Sentencing Reporter, Robert J. Watkins/Procter and Gamble Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Featured Article
Alleyne on the Ground: Factfinding that Limits Eligibility for Probation or Parole Release

Nancy J. King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University School of Law and Brynn E. Applebaum, J.D. Candidate, Class of 2015, Vanderbilt University School of Law

Other articles in this issue
(available through University of California Press)

The Case For the Smarter Sentencing Act
John G. Malcolm, Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

The Case Against the Smarter Sentencing Act
William G Otis, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Letter from Senators Cornyn, Grassley, and Sessions About the Smarter Sentencing Act
John Cornyn, U.S. Senator for Texas, Charles E. Grassley, U.S. Senator for Iowa, and Jeff Sessions, U.S. Senator for Alabama

Letter from Human Rights Watch about the Smarter Sentencing Act
Antonio M. Ginatta, Advocacy Director, US Program, Human Rights Watch

Analysis of the Impact of the 2014 Drug Guidelines Amendment If Made Retroactive
U.S. Sentencing Commission

Recidivism Among Offenders Receiving Retroactive Sentence Reductions: The 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment
Kim Steven Hunt, U.S. Sentencing Commission, Office of Research and Data and Andrew Peterson, U.S. Sentencing Commission, Office of Research and Data

Statement of Sally Quillian Yates Before the United States Sentencing Commission
Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Georgia

Posted by
In the most recent issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, leaders of California’s criminal justice system comment on the state’s Realignment policy, which aims to reduce the prison population by transferring certain lower-level inmates to county jails. In this guest blog post, Vera asked Don...
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I met Rick Kern soon after I started working at Vera in 2008. Rick had a long-standing relationship with Vera, and he served as an associate with Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections for many, many years. Rick was our “go-to guy” on just about every sentencing and corrections topic—...
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Scholars, practitioners, and justice advocates have extensively examined the corrosive impact of mass incarceration on families and communities. The inclusion of family impact statements into the justice equation, as reported by Vera, signals a welcome confluence of empirical research and criminal...
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Editor’s note: Rebekah Diller is deputy director of the Justice Program at the NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice. She responds here to “The Unintended Sentence of Criminal Justice Debt,” an article in the October issue of Federal Sentencing Reporter. As states struggle to close...
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Even if you have never read the journal Federal Sentencing Reporter (FSR), I urge you to have a look at the October issue. Earlier this year, the journal’s editors invited Vera to plan and coordinate a special edition—serendipitously, the invitation came just as we began celebrating our 50th...
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