June 30th 2011, the U.S. Sentencing Commission granted retroactivity to the Fairness in Sentencing Act!

U.S. Sentencing Commission received over 40,000 letters -- people mostly from people like you!

Media coverage of retroactivity and FSA

Witness statements before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on June 1st.

Read the Commission's Analysis of the
Impact of the Fair Sentencing Act if made retroactive (2011).

The United States Sentencing Commission can recommend sentencing retroactivity
In 2007 the United States Sentencing Commission recommended retroactivity after they made changes in cocaine sentencing. That was predicted to lower the sentences of about 19,000 people. The sky didn't fall when the USSC extended justice to all.

What came before that retroactivity was an unprecedented number of letters of public comment that flooded the offices of the Commission.

It's time to do that again.

Personalizing the letter you see on page three (written by November Coalition staff) and sending one to the Commission immediately is very important.

A few legal bloggers think the USSC’s decision could come as early as November 1st, so don’t delay. Obligate yourself to send one. Do what volunteers do.

Sample letter:

Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20002-8002

Dear Honorable Commissioners:

Your work through the decades acknowledging the adverse impacts and injustice of the 100-to-one cocaine disparity, and recommending retroactivity end of 2007 was noticed and appreciated by thousands of people. We turn to you again in order to have justice prevail.

While Congress addressed the injustice of disparate cocaine sentencing in part, it is my understanding the Commission can address retroactivity. Without this important recognition of long injustice, disrespect for the legal process will continue to erode communities in and outside of federal prisons.

Commissioners have the opportunity to further restore citizen faith that the present system of sentencing is not so rigid that it can't serve us properly. And recommending retroactivity would give you the opportunity to use the discretionary powers the Commission has today. Without consistent changes and fair adjustments the Sentencing Commission is charged to do, more ground will be laid for another period "ripe for reform," requiring sudden, drastic measures.

Retroactivity for crack-cocaine prisoners would also relieve some prison overcrowding and costs without jeopardizing public safety.

Dissent against harsh, dead-end sentencing rises as fast as budgets are cut. This letter is to demonstrate that there is public support for retroactive sentencing relief. 

The goals of the United States Sentencing Commission to reduce unwarranted disparity, increase rationality and transparency of punishment, and make punishment proportional cannot be accomplished without retroactive sentencing relief.


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