In a letter sent to senate and house leadership the sentencing project urged congress to move quickly to pass the sentencing reform measures in the first step act s3649 to help create a safer more equitable and fairer justice system. Mandatory minimums and sentencing reform summary mandatory minimum sentencing laws force a judge to hand down a minimum prison sentence based on the charges a prosecutor brings against a defendant which result in a conviction usually a guilty plea. Virginia criminal sentencing commission 2014 annual report virginia criminal sentencing commission december 2014 during fy2014 judges continued to agree with the sentencing guidelines recommendations in approximately 78 of the cases. Studies have also explored case and jurisdiction level disparities in sentencing outcomes and processes related to attributes of defendants notably race and gender an emerging body of works has begun to document the specific impact of sentencing policies on offenders and on the criminal justice system as a whole. The study the effects of holistic defense on criminal justice outcomes to be published in the harvard law review examined over half a million cases in the bronx over a 10 year period involving poor criminal defendants who received court appointed lawyers
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