Prof. JaneAnne Murray's Comments on Proposal to Grant Retroactive Benefits to Current Prisoners is Posted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission
On June 28, 2023, the U.S. Sentencing Commission posted a selection of the comments it received on its proposal to make certain criminal history amendments to the sentencing guidelines retroactive. Its posting included one submitted by Prof. JaneAnne Murray, who directs the Clemency Project, that was focused on the psychological impact of equalizing the benefit currently offered to criminal defendants without also offering the same reduction to incarcerated individuals. The Clemency Project canvased its client base and shared their anonymized responses. Highlighting the "robust social science literature linking respect for – and obedience to – the law with perceptions of the law’s fairness," Prof. Murray's comment concluded: "it is dismaying and demoralizing for incarcerated individuals to see similarly-situated prisoners get shorter sentences simply because of the luck of timing. To promote respect for the law, we urge the Commission to make [the targeted amendments] retroactive."