The Center for Justice and Human Dignity invites you to tune in for our May virtual series which examined how the U.S. Sentencing Commission and its guidelines impact mass incarceration.

We explored how guidelines, policy statements, and data collection might advance decarceration efforts and address system disparities.

Watch each video here!

While the President considers the U.S. Sentencing Commission appointments, judges and judicial-focused organizations are examining how the agency might better address the myriad ways its guidelines impact mass incarceration. The nation has an opportunity to reimagine how the Commission might use its authority to further decarceration efforts and address other system disparities through its guidelines and policy statements. During this symposium, judges, scholars and practitioners shared their thoughts on these topics and reflected on how legislation like the First Step Act has expanded the use of compassionate release and other opportunities for decarceration.

Throughout May, this virtual symposium offered weekly panels addressing how the U.S. Sentencing Commission can be supportive of federal alternative to incarceration programming, sentencing review mechanisms, promising practices from state sentencing commissions, and changes to the guidelines practitioners and other leaders in the field are interested in seeing once commissioners are appointed.


Alternatives to Incarceration: Reducing Mass Incarceration in Federal Court
Tuesday, May 3 12pm ET

  • Judge Dolly M. Gee, United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, CASA Program
  • Raul Ayala, Deputy Federal Public Defender at Office of the Federal Public Defender, CASA Program
  • Judge Leo Sorokin, District Court Judge, District of Massachusetts, RISE Program
  • Chris Dozier, NAPSA Federal Director, Retired Chief U.S. Pretrial Services Officer

State Sentencing Commissions Work Toward Decarceration
Tuesday, May 10 12pm ET

  • Kelly Mitchell, Chair of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission
  • Mark Bergstrom, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing
  • Sara Andrews, Executive Director, Ohio Sentencing Commission

Sentencing Review and Reduction: Open Questions and Next Steps for the Commission
Tuesday, May 17 12pm ET

  • Elizabeth Blackwood, Counsel & Director for the First Step Act Resource Center at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • Marisa Taney, Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Holloway Project
  • Cynthia Roseberry, Deputy Director of Policy, Justice Division of ACLU

Looking Ahead: Learning from Past Commission Leadership
Tuesday, May 24 12pm ET

  • Judge Patti B. Saris, U.S. District Court – District of Massachusetts
  • Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • Retired Judge Nancy Gertner, U.S.District Ct., D. Mass., Senior Lecturer, Harvard Law School
  • Judge William K. Sessions III, Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont
Quick Links

Remote panel series