Facing Your Federal Prison Sentencing Hearing

 What Federal Judges Want to Know at Sentencing.

September 2017  • THE FEDERAL LAWYER

“It’s surprising how many otherwise competent attorney’s ‘punt’ at the sentencing hearing.”  

Prison Reform is a large and complicated conversation, a goal that we all strive to reach – but which is always tomorrow. Unfortunately, for those who are facing incarceration today – the Presentence Report is the key to their immediate future.

Facing Prison

  • Current federal incarceration rates are increasing, mostly affecting people of color.
  • In the federal system; over 86% of those indicted-go to prison, (in the state system; over 75% of those indicted- go to prison).
  • After a verdict of guilty, the most important document is the Presentence Report (PSR); a healthcare, criminal, family and financial background of the defendant.
  • Law Schools do not teach the details of implementing the medical, security and prison placement process in order to provide the defendant and court with a facility placement recommendation.
  • Legal teams, after a verdict of guilty do their best to make ‘qualified’ prison placement recommendations to the court. These recommendations (where applicable), should take into account security, medical and mental healthcare needs as well as providing a match to preexisting interests your client may have in higher learning along with specific occupational trades training.

Objectives and Goals

  • Providing qualified prison placement recommendations to the court before sentencing, taking into account security requirements and healthcare needs as well as specific interests the client may have in an occupational trade or higher learning, reducing recidivism (where applicable).
  • Reduce Recidivism by matching and nurturing your client’s preexisting interest in a particular occupational trade or higher education; with an appropriate prison.
    • One example lies in: The LastMile.org, a program started at San Quentin State Prison.
  • Providing continuity of medical care, that matches your client with prisons that are able to provide the healthcare that they need.

The PSR (Presentence Report) is used by:

  • The judge for sentencing.
  • The BOP (Bureau of Prisons) to designate, or place you in a particular prison.
  • Probation to supervise you after release.
  • Finally, it then becomes a permanent part of your record.

Prison Match™; A PSR Case Management Software that matches the defendant to a prison based on their:

  • Individual Healthcare CARE LEVEL needs.
  • Security Requirements.
  • Reducing Recidivism and a successful reentry starts before sentencing by matching the defendant to a facility where they have expressed an interest in either higher learning (college), or in learning a specific Occupational Trade.
  • Education (College-Turning Prisons into Colleges 3/2018), or Occupational Trade training.