Facing Your Federal Prison Sentencing Hearing

“It’s surprising how many otherwise competent attorney’s ‘punt’ at the sentencing hearing”: The Federal Lawyer by Attorney Alan Ellis

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 their federal prison sentencing hearing today, the Presentence Report is the key to their immediate future and successful reentry.


Facing Prison
  • In the federal system; more than 86% of those indicted go to prison, (In the state system; more than 75% of those indicted- go to prison).
  • After a verdict of guilty, broadly speaking the most important document is the Presentence Report (PSR), a healthcare, criminal, family and financial background of the defendant.
  • Law schools (for the most part) do not teach the details of implementing the medical, security and prison placement process in order to provide the court with a facility placement recommendation request.
  • After a verdict of guilty, legal teams can do their best to proactively research and make a prison placement recommendation to the court.
Objectives and Goals
  • Providing qualified prison placement recommendations to the court before sentencing, taking into account both security requirements and healthcare needs.
  • Reduce recidivism by matching and nurturing the defendant’s preexisting interest in a particular occupational trade or higher education; with an appropriate prison.
    • One successful example of an existing program: The LastMile.org, a program started at San Quentin State Prison.
The PSR (Presentence Report) is used by:
  • The judge for sentencing.
  • The BOP to designate, or place the defendant into a particular prison.
  • Probation to supervise after release.
  • Finally, it then becomes a permanent part of the defendant’s record.

Prison Match™ – Federal; a PSR / Sentencing Preparation Software that matches the defendant to a prison-based on their:
  • Individual healthcare CARE LEVEL needs.
  • Security requirements.
  • Reducing recidivism and creating a successful reentry can start 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.