Stephens Establishes Committee of Academic Experts to Review PA Sentencing Policies
10/19/2020
HARRISBURG—Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) in his role as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing has established an ad hoc academic committee at the Commission on Sentencing to review sentencing policies. The Honorable Leon W. Tucker, Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, will Chair the committee.

“This will give us the opportunity to promote better policies and outcomes unifying the various guidelines adopted by the commission, including those related to sentencing and resentencing, parole and recommitment, and risk assessment,” Stephens said. “The current national unrest is a clear sign that the Commission on Sentencing must examine racial justice.”

The Commission on Sentencing develops the sentencing guidelines which judges must consider in every criminal case. From its inception, the Commission on Sentencing has focused on the protection of the public, the impact on the life of the victim, and the rehabilitative needs of the offender. The panel’s input will identify any issues for consideration during the final phase of development of the 8th Edition Sentencing Guidelines.

During the past six years, the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing has been involved in a comprehensive review of its sentencing guidelines. From the beginning of this effort, the commission viewed a rebuilding of the sentencing guidelines as a vehicle to reform and improve Pennsylvania's criminal justice system, advancing the goals of the Commonwealth's Justice Reinvestment Initiatives.

The new academic review panel includes legal and social science experts from Pennsylvania and across the United States who are authorities on sentencing and corrections, guidelines, juvenile and criminal justice policy, social justice, and race and ethnicity.

The panel is expected to begin meeting in November.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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