Alternative Sentencing for Federal Crimes-Why You May Not Have To Go To Federal Prison!

Federal courts are currently considering alternative sentencing methods due to prison overcrowding, the high rate of white collar crime, and lack of rehabilitative programs. White collar offenders now have an alternative to prison. Do you qualify?
By: Michael Frantz, Director of JailTime Consulting
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* Prison Sentencing
* Federal Sentencing Commission
* Sentencing Guidelines
* Federal Prison
* Bop
* Home Detention
* Probation

* Prison Consulting
* Legal

* Seminole - Florida - US

Aug. 14, 2011 - PRLog -- In 1984 the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) generated the most dramatic changes in sentencing law and practice in our Nation's history. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines have received an enormous amount of criticism and currently is the topic of massive calls for change.  Opponents have argued that the sentencing guidelines do not encourage the use of intermediate sanctions for first time, non-violent offenders, white collar defendants, and minor drug cases. The problem is that prison crowding, (the prison population is growing seemingly unchecked), the high cost to the federal government for incarceration, and the fact that the United States has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world, has prompted the need for sentencing reforms or alternatives. Federal judges have recommended an amendment to the guidelines to permit the use of alternatives in a wider variety of cases. The Sentencing Commission is currently studying this issue to try to arrive at some type of solution. They have assembled several working groups to study this issue such as an advisory panel of criminal justice professionals, scholars, and judges, as well as study groups.

The 25% Rule
   When Congress first went about creating the sentencing guidelines, they set forth two overshadowing constraints.  The Sentencing Commission was instructed, for each category of offense involving each category of defendant, to establish a sentencing range that is consistent with all pertinent provisions of title 18, United States Code, Crimes and Criminal Procedure. Secondly, if a sentence specified by the guidelines includes a term of imprisonment, the maximum of the range established for such a term shall not exceed the minimum of that range by more than the greater of 25 percent or 6 months, whichever is greater, except that, if the minimum term of the range is 30 years or more, the maximum may be life imprisonment. They called this the 25% Rule.

Offender Characteristics

   Certain factors (Offender Characteristics) were to be considered by the judge when he handed down the sentence. Some of these Offender Characteristics included  age, education, vocational skills, mental and emotional condition, physical condition including drug dependence, employment record, family and community ties, criminal history, role in the offense, seriousness of the offense and several others. These factors would come into play at sentencing and help to determine the length and scope of the sentence. They would also come into play to determine if there was an alternative to incarceration.

Alternatives to Incarceration

   Those alternatives to federal incarceration could be halfway house confinement, probation, house arrest also called home detention, supervised release, residential reentry center treatment (RRC), and various outpatient programs. In addition the court has the authority to impose staggered sentences, split sentences, and intermittent sentences, rather than just a lengthy period of incarceration in a federal prison. The possibility of split sentencing includes, a period of time in a halfway house, a period of time on home confinement, or a period of time in a federal prison. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Prisons has taken a negative stance on split sentences and has tried to overrule the judge’s authority. For example says Michael Frantz, Director of JailTime Consulting LLC and a nationally recognized federal prison consultant, ”A recent client of ours was given a split sentence of nine (9) months of incarceration and six (6) months in a halfway house. The BOP interpreted this as a fifteen (15) month sentence of incarceration only.” Frantz now is working at correcting this.

   “Alternative sentencing is not an option for everyone”, says Michael Frantz, “but it is a viable option and should be explored by all first time, non-violent offenders. Why would anyone want to spend time in a federal prison when he or she may be eligible for an alternative sentencing option.” JailTime Consulting can evaluate a defendant, prior to sentencing, to determine the eligibility for alternative sentencing and if eligible prepare an Alternative Sentencing and Mitigation Report for the defendant.

   A historic event occurred on January 12, 2005 when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the United States Sentencing Guidelines were only advisory rather than mandatory. This opened up a whole host of personal and offense characteristics that can be considered by the courts in imposing a sentence. Since the Guidelines have become advisory only, there have been many situations in which the courts have varied significantly from the Guidelines.  A federal offender can now receive a downward departure or a discretionary sentence for a multitude of reasons other than providing 5K1.1 “substantial assistance” to the government.  Frantz said, ”Factors which may contribute to a downward departure are physical disabilities, family circumstances, age, coercion, duress, and mental incapacity.” The judge, by granting these downward departures, may totally eliminate a prison sentence or significantly reduce the defendant’s time of incarceration.

   Frantz stated, JailTime Consulting will do a complete and accurate background history as well as an evaluation of the circumstances surrounding the defendant’s crime. The resultant Alternative Sentencing and Mitigation Report may provide the sentencing judge with the basis for a substantial downward departure from the initial Federal Sentencing Guideline level. Frantz stated that this entire evaluation is only $350.00.

   Frantz stated that the JailTime Consulting LLC works closely with the defendant, his attorney, his family, and associated medical and other professionals to construct a comprehensive presentation for the defendant. In this time of longer and more severe sentences for white collar defendants, it is good to have someone knowledge in alternative sentencing and sentence mitigation on your side.

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Michael Frantz is a leading Prison Consultant with JailTime Consulting (JTC) in South Florida. The staff of JTC provides sentence reduction strategies, research, and many pre- and post-sentencing services for its clients. Michael has authored a bestselling book on federal prison titled, “Jail Time, What you need to know…Before you go to federal prison!” He has also authored over thirty-five JT Special Reports© on various federal prison issues and over 40 articles nationally affecting inmates and their families. They are available on the website. He writes a daily blog on the JTC website answering readers’ questions and comments. He is a nationally recognized authority on federal prison and serves as a federal prison resource. He has been contacted by ABC’s 20/20, the Oprah Winfrey network, the Fox News Network, as well as many radio and TV stations nationwide. He can be reached at 954-522-2254, 800-382-0868 or at
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Tags:Prison Sentencing, Federal Sentencing Commission, Sentencing Guidelines, Federal Prison, Bop, Home Detention, Probation
Industry:Prison Consulting, Legal
Location:Seminole - Florida - United States
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