Recently the United States Sentencing Commission updated its’ website. This appears to be part of a concerted effort on the Commission’s part to engage in social outreach regarding sentencing policy and procedure. In addition to the website updates, the Commission has produced videos, created guides to various criminal sentencing issues and become active on Twitter. These various outlets for information have made the Commission more accessible for attorneys and the general public.
Included in the updates are multiple tabs to find information related to the current and archived guidelines. An online copy of every guideline manual ever published can be found on the site. Additionally, the Sentencing Commission has made access to research, policymaking and education available. These resources provide significant resources to attorneys, defendants and other individuals who now have the benefit of finding information on a variety of sentencing issues on an easy-to-navigate, intuitive website.
The Sentencing Commission, in addition to the website, has started creating video guides, providing live links to hearings and other meeting, and has become active on Twitter. The ability for the general public to view and participate in the conversation about federal sentencing policy is more accessible now than ever before. The Commission has done a good job of providing notice of future action and giving individuals the ability to submit public comments on all of the suggested guideline amendments. While this has been true for a long time, the advances in the website and the use of social media drives access to information. This will certainly contribute to sentencing reform and the evolution of sentencing law needed to achieve a fair sentencing regime. Hopefully, the greater transparency provided by the Commission will allow for a more involved conversation regarding the sentencing guidelines and their application to thousands of defendant’s cases every year.