Early Release of WA Prisoners Due to DOC Computer Glitch

Washington State is currently in crisis mode over the premature release of approximately 3,000 prisoners due to a Department of Corrections computer glitch. But do the facts warrant the panic? Prematurely released prisoners are charged with causing two deaths, one a DUI vehicular homicide. If 3,000 prisoners were accidentally released, and two deaths have resulted, that is a 0.067% chance spread across thirteen years that an early release could result in a death—assuming we give any credence at all to the flawed logic that keeping two prisoners incarcerated a few months longer could have prevented their recidivism.

There is, in fact, no evidence that early release caused the recidivism. Yet supposedly thoughtful news outlets like NPR have covered this story in the same old inaccurate, fear-mongering way that keeps mass incarceration alive and well. Aside from a Seattle Times piece by Kamb and O’Sullivan, Washington media coverage has mostly failed to address the 99.933% of prematurely released prisoners who caused no deaths post-release. As state officials delight in the theatrics of damage control, wasting taxpayer money to re-incarcerate many prematurely released prisoners well on the path to reentering their communities, we have yet to spend taxpayer dollars on improved post-incarceration reentry programs, or on fulfilling our obligations to K-12 children under the McCleary decision.

Revenge for the sake of revenge is expensive, and does nothing to promote public safety or rehabilitation of prisoners. Tax dollars would serve Washingtonians better if applied to in-prison programs proven to reduce recidivism rates, such as prison higher education. Yet Washington’s criminal justice policies remain rooted in revenge lust, with little regard for actual statistics on recidivism or the effect of mass incarceration on communities of color. Washingtonians don’t want to see headlines that read, “Accidental Early Release Proves Cost Benefit of Releasing Prisoners Early” or “Accidental Early Release Yields No Discernable Difference in Recidivism Rates.” Such headlines don’t fit with our sensational mythos of fear.

This mentality prevents Washington from joining most other states across the nation in reinstating parole. Washington eliminated the parole process in 1984 as part of the Reagan era tough on crime fad. Most states have now realized the inefficacy of clemency boards as the sole pinhole release valve for state prison systems that feed bodies in by the thousands, yet Washington stubbornly clings to a failed criminal justice model.

If Washington officials want something real to flap their arms over, they might turn their attention to the cost of life without parole sentences in our state. The 2015 University of Washington Law, Society, and Justice report on LWOP sentences informs us that “each LWOP sentence will cost Washington State $51,193 each year for 30 years,” after which point a prisoner becomes elderly and “will cost Washington State $102,386 each year” for the remaining estimated nine years of in-prison lifespan. At the 2015 Concerned Lifers Organization Conference at Monroe Correctional Complex, prisoner Arthur Longworth gave a poignant talk on the “mass drownings” of life without parole sentences in Washington State, drawing attention to the human rights aspect of indefinite incarceration. LWOP is Washington’s other death sentence, and it’s expensive.

Inflamed emotional responses to scary-sounding news stories—as in the uproar over the now elderly Tim Pauley’s eligibility for release—keep Washington’s prisons packed with Three Strikers and elderly prisoners who pose miniscule, if any, risk to public safety. The 2015 Concerned Lifers Conference demonstrated this to the public with a parade of feeble elderly prisoners who could barely climb onto the stage.

Instead of attacking DOC head Dan Pacholke for the early release of prisoners, why not thank this computer glitch for revealing that early release results in no discernible difference at all? Washingtonians must learn to distinguish between media sensationalism and actual criminal justice facts if we want to stop tearing our communities apart and wasting tax dollars warehousing our loved ones in prisons.

 

 

Can we change the fear and punishment narrative?

On Aug 29th, the Seattle Times published an article entitled Potential Release of Murderer angers Reichert, Prosecutor Satterberg.  The article goes into depth on the horrific details of the crime, which fuels the fear and punishment narrative that underlies the failed experiment of mass incarceration the last three decades.   Bryan Stevenson,[1] Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and Professor of Law at New York University, who works with the condemned and incarcerated, writes and speaks eloquently on how to get us out of this failure.

Within Mr. Stevenson’s four-point plan[2] for social justice two points were critically missing from this article. One being lessons learnt by proximity.   No one is simply the worst thing they have ever done, even when it is as horrific as described in the article.   If we were to take the time and meet the men and women in this state who have committed violent crimes, we might learn a lesson ourselves and possibly gain greater understanding of how these people are not just the act that put them away for decades. We can all reflect on our own lives and know that we are not the same people we were 30 years ago. Some of us may have changed drastically while others may have changed only slightly, but all of us have grown and developed. Is that not the point of a release program, to determine if the person has indeed made significant changes while incarcerated?

This brings us to Mr. Stevenson’s second point, which is the critical need to change the narrative – one from retribution and punishment to justice and rehabilitation. In our current criminal justice system we are not providing any way for the person who commits a crime to make right with the person who was harmed. Instead we create adversaries, anger and bitterness. What if there was a way to utilize restorative justice principles for all parties who were impacted by the event to gain understanding and ultimately forgiveness?  The details of what Mr. Pauley has actually achieved while he has been incarcerated did not get a lot of airplay in this article but the details of the crime did. If we were to focus on justice and rehabilitation, would have been an entirely different article. The public would have been provided details on what the incarcerated person has been able to achieve despite the system not offering much in the way of programs to people who don’t have upcoming release dates.

What if we changed the narrative on this story to be one focused on rehabilitation and remorse instead of anger and fear? How might our feeling of public safety change? How might we be able to find better solutions to the financially unsustainable “solution” we currently have of warehousing people because our current narrative is based on unremitting anger?

 

[1] Mr. Stevenson and other EJI lawyers won the US Supreme court cases that have been instrumental in how Juvenile LWOP sentences are imposed within the US: Graham v. Florida (LWOP can no longer be imposed on juvenile’s sentenced for non homicide offenses) and Miller v. Alabama (mandatory LWOP for children under 17 or younger convicted of homicide is unconstitutional).

[2] Mr. Stevenson’s 4 points are 1) proximity 2) changing the narrative 3) be willing to do the uncomfortable and 4) orientate your spirit to hope that change can indeed occur.

August Newsletter sent to CFP inside supporters

In the last newsletter we asked about the idea of going with an intuitive instead of legislation. Thanks to those who responded with the wisdom that regardless of which vehicle to use, we must build a politically strong coalition for either vehicle to be successful. We will continue to do that and stay connected to the legislation process.   And we’d appreciate any further thoughts you have on that topic and how we will be successful in bringing relief to the extreme sentences many people are facing.

Please review the draft legislation we’ve not changed this language in some time. Recently the Sentencing Guidelines Commission has put a committee together to study the option for second chance legislation. Jon Zulauf the criminal defense attorney working with us has been invited on that committee and he has shared this version of the legislation.   This group has met once and will be meeting again in a couple of weeks, we’ll provide updates as we get them on any progress made there. This group may not have the same foundation that everyone regardless of sentence or crime should have a chance to be re-evaluated. As a matter of fact there is already push back on anyone with sentences of Aggravated First Degree Murder. That is why the strength of our coalition is so important. With a politically strong coalition we can exercise our power to ensure that any recommendations that may come out of this committee will have a positive impact on all incarcerated people who have been incarcerated at least 15 years regardless of originating charges.

In regards to the legislation, here are a couple of questions for you

  1. Do you have some language for the accountability of the board? We want to ensure there is an audit process for the decisions made by the board. Any suggestions on how to add this? This is a way to hold the board accountable so it is less likely to make racially biased decisions.
  2. What about re-integration services? Do these issues belong in the legislation itself?
  3. What about the possibility of deportation after release? Do we need to add language around this?
  4. Any other issues you see that may impact specific communities differently?

Our efforts right now are focused around bringing more organizations and greater representation of communities of color into the coalition. We are looking for opportunities to speak with other organizations so if you are aware of any that you’ve not yet let us know please do. We need to grow this coalition and at the same time educate the general public around the inhumanity, injustice and inefficiencies of the current system. Our true focus and determination is creating a review process that is accountable and just. For any person who is reviewed and denied, clearly documented reasons are available as to why and what could be done to get a positive result next time around.

Not only do we have to actively discuss how race impacts decisions by the reviewing body, we also have to talk about how the originating crime impacts these decisions. The stereotype of ‘violent crimes’ needs to be shattered. Those of us who are connected to people who have aggravated first-degree murder or directly have this sentence need to be vocal about accountability and transformation.  With so many crimes being identified as violent, in the DOC dataset of all people with 15+ years less than 1% has non-violent charges. That is a very small percentage of the almost 6000 people found in this dataset. Lets have the hard conversations about lives lost, remorse, accountability and change. The review legislation is to bring all people together through a multi-cultural process and being inclusive of all people inside.

I wanted to introduce to you the members of the CFP team. We are a flat organization and meet together as one group every other week on Saturdays with approximately 6 or 7 folks showing up regularly. With the new additions to the team, we’re hopeful that the number of folks able to regularly make meetings will increase. We are looking for options to be able to have a couple of phone numbers established for the coalition so that you could join a meeting similar to what the Village of Hope does. Once we get those logistics sorted, we’ll send out an update with numbers and date/times.

  • Loretta Fisher: Intern at ACLU, previous sponsor of BPC
  • Katherin Hervey: Seattle Restorative Justice, The Prison Within
  • Jani James: concerned citizen
  • Al O’Brien: Seattle U associate Prof. , ex-legislator
  • Noemie Maxwell: concerned citizen, fix3strikes
  • Vanna Sing: FIGHT (Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together)
  • Connie Palmersheim: Family member
  • Carol Estes: UBB
  • Jon Zulauf: Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Cindy Anderson, Family member

Since the June 20th event the following people have joined our little team. We are very grateful to have additional members stepping up to help support the work you want us to get done.

  • Levert Banks: concerned citizen
  • Christina Nguyen: Family member
  • Frances Posel: UBB
  • Karen Gamble: Family member
  • Amber Dickson: FAN intern
  • Nikki Wright: Family member
  • Janeen Hernandez: Family Member

We are working on an event in the fall in Spokane so that we can mobilize in eastern Washington as well. We’ve been connected to the 3 Tribes in Eastern Washington through one of our inside supporters in Walla Walla. We are also in dialog with an organization of previously incarcerated individuals called IDTT (I did the time) in Spokane to make this event a successful one.   If you have any organizations or family over there we would be greatly appreciated introductions. We don’t yet have a date but will have that shortly.

Finally you may have heard we have a contest going for someone to create us a logo. Please make sure you check out our Logo contest page for full details.

 

Good Parole Review is an All Staff Process

Vien Tran wrote to WCFP from Stafford Creek where he’s been incarcerated since December 2000. He suggests measures that will give the fullest perspective on incarcerated individuals’ motivations and lives, and enable parole review to identify incarcerated individuals ready to reenter and contribute to communities.

I collect all of my courage to write you to show my support for your work and dedication in order to bring parole back to Washington State. How can we get community support? What can change our communities’ and the media’s point of view about us – especially because of those who keep coming back to prison after they’ve been released?

I’ve been in prison since December 2000 (currently at Stafford Creek) and have experienced many changes in our prison system. Olympia is scrambling to impose change after change every time a crisis arises which causes many hardships for the rest of the prison population and staff (Jaime Biendl’s case is an example). Crimes and recidivism can be prevented if we really believe in education and rehabilitation. Counselors, Correction Officers and other staff members who are in contact with inmates daily, have ample opportunities to observe our behaviors. If these staff members are well-trained and equipped with special knowledge which encourages and motivates inmates to change, the result will be remarkably positive.

For example, California is granting very good proportional earned-time to inmates who perform exceptionally well in areas such as work ethic, attitude, education, moral values, goals, and growth orientation.

Here at Stafford Creek, many of our leaders in the Administration believe in change, and so do most inmates. The Redemption Project helps raise self-awareness and identify the need for a change of life style in order to function and repay society for the negative acts that we committed against it. The project keeps growing and producing many facilitators who, in turn, recruit others to join also. It was designed as a non-mandatory program to show inmates that it’s their choice to make changes for themselves willingly. Redemption is a platform for those who want to express their ideas and concerns for a better prison culture and create a positive impact on our outside communities. I’m a facilitator myself, and I can see that there are many inmates who have a potential to change and live a productive life but are still skeptical and hesitant to show a desire to do so.

I want to humbly propose some of my meager measures in hope it would be of help in this great cause.

  1. Float officers and counselors are encouraged to participate and support Redemption Project in group meetings and supervise classes. They are the ones who work closely with inmates and will eventually evaluate each inmate’s performance/behaviors.
  2. Psychologist and other medical staff members are also encouraged to get involved with the project and/or classification process. This will improve staff’s point of view of inmates and help build the trust between inmates and staff.

My fear is that a “One Size Fits All” model will be created that can punish the whole prison population for one individual’s mistake. Officers and Staff are the ones who can monitor the inmates closely because they work inside these fences and are in contact with us regularly. If you send in an expert who could only come once in a while or every three years to evaluate us, he wouldn’t know everything that is going on inside these fences; let alone what’s going on inside a criminal mind. For example, Clemmons, whose motive was to kill (4) officers (at Lakewood), had the capacity to hide his motive and hatred so well he went under the radar. I’m not an expert but I understand that if you can spend time with someone long enough, you will discover his motive in everything he does through his speech and action – not through several short conversations.

So, what can one do to know an inmate and evaluate him?

Here’s how the classification process works at Stafford Creek. In my case, I’m classified once a year, and I don’t have to meet the FRMT (Facility Risk Management Team) if I choose not to. I only need to see my counselor. That’s it.

Other inmates are classified every six months if they have shorter sentences. That means many of us can go under the radar and no one would know our motive.

Taking Anger Management classes and other self-help programs such as AA, NA, and earning certificates from educational and vocational classes are good. But, an inmate needs to psychologically be evaluated and recommended by expert, well-trained staff. Other considerations are family ties and community support. The evaluators must know if an inmate is still a threat to himself, his family, or society. An inmate who has a desire for change will seek help and must show his intention and (a) logical plan (s) for his future. Talking about a plan is not good enough. To distinguish between an inmate who is ready for release and who isn’t is a tough task, but not so tough it can’t be done.

I want to remind you that many of us in here are not all criminals. We were not born criminals. Some of us need more help than the others – “An ignorant mind needs instruction as much as condemnation”. We made our mistakes and we want to redeem ourselves. We still have emotion, love, regrets, dreams, and hope for a better future with our families. We are not caged animals. We are yearning for a normal life. I myself hope for a second chance to redeem myself and a normal life with my beautiful and loving wife. My family is praying for me every night.

Again, I want to thank you and your team for your time and I wish you the best. I believe that you will succeed in helping us. My family, my wife and I owe you a great deal of appreciation. God bless you! Sincerely,

Vien Tran

The Yard: Mass Incarceration on the Inside

In this prison, the Yard is an acre and a half of grass, gravel, dirt, and concrete that we pack into hundreds at a time. Like everything else in here, it smells and sounds like people. Lots of them. The cloistered smell of others pressed in around you, so close they touch you on all sides, as you move along in the steady push of amassed bodies through the security gate and into the Yard. The sound is a confluence of conversations, calls from one prisoner to another across the yard and the discordant cadence of gunfire from the nearby range rebounding off the crumbling thirty-foot brick wall topped with a gun walk that bounds one side of this space. You are hedged on every other side by the interior face of a building complex for which no blueprint can possibly exist because this prison was built in 1908, and every year since it has in some way been altered or added onto. On this Yard, you see mass incarceration.

Outside prison, mass incarceration seems to be measured in numbers, which is understandable because the numbers are staggering – the number of prisons, prisoners, and the racial disproportion of those imprisoned in our country. But, inside, mass incarceration wears a more personal face; one you wouldn’t feel right equating with a mere number. It includes entire families and communities. It’s an institution into which young people are often discarded with sentences they can’t live to see the end of and are never looked at again. And the three prisoners beyond their eightieth birthday on this Yard bear witness that mass incarceration affords no mercy or compassion to the elderly either.

Although, after more than thirty years inside prison – indeed, every day I’ve ever lived as an adult – I’ve found the most significant defining characteristic of mass incarceration isn’t external. It isn’t anything you see on the Yard: it’s what you feel. In prison, mass incarceration is an experience sewn into your flesh and bones, a physical force that makes you feel as though you’re buried, as though you can’t breathe. It’s an experience you can’t turn away from or choose not to have, and it leaves you with little – or no – capacity for hope. A feeling that is most intense when you close your eyes and the faces out of which your experience is comprised rise unbidden into your consciousness.

Boo has a wide, moon-shaped face. He’s the little Native American kid who refused to let go of my leg at my sister’s foster home when it was time for me to return to the J Street Boys’ Home. He’s called me “Uncle” ever since. If I open my eyes, I’ll see his face as clearly as I do now with my eyes closed. Because he was released from the solitary confinement unit a couple of weeks ago, after spending a year and a half in there, and now he’s on the Yard with me. A lifetime ago, Boo shot someone during a drug deal. That’s why he has life without the possibility of parole.

Dean’s face buoys my spirit. I met him in a receiving home on 11th and Pearl in Tacoma when he was nine and I was twelve – both of us, at that point, already veterans of an interminable number of state placements. Dean’s company uplifted me in that miserable circumstance, and again a decade later in the control unit of the state penitentiary when guards fire hosed me every week, and kept me naked and in leg shackles for a month. He gave me a thumbs up through the narrow window slat of his cell door whenever guards dragged me past. Dean is on the Yard of a prison sixty miles south of here. Two decades ago, he struck-out under the state’s “3 Strikes” law for burglary. That’s why he has life without the possibility of parole.

Robert’s face is black – so black it’s hard to make out his features in the dark. I shared a room with him at the boys’ home in Silverdale the night he snuck out the window. He said he’d be back by morning, but he wasn’t. Robert was bigger than the rest of us, and unaware of his own strength. I wasn’t surprised to hear that he beat up and robbed a man outside a tavern the night he slipped out the window. Or that the man died in the hospital a week later. Robert is on the Yard of a prison four hundred miles to the east of here. He got life.

Dan’s face is haggard; he looks old, even though he’s only a few years older than me. I first saw him when I was at the C.K. Boys’ Home outside Centralia. I never expected he’d come to prison, because he was the son of a staff member and, back then, it seemed like prison was only for those of us who were raised by the state. Maybe whatever was wrong with us rubbed off on him. Dan has been in prison for twenty-six years, although, he hasn’t been to the Yard since his friend, Dennis, died in the cell next to him. Maybe he’s given up. He has life without the possibility of parole.

James’ face hasn’t resided behind my closed eyes as long as the others, but the image is no less scoured into my consciousness. Because I know his life circumstance, and it troubles me deeply. James was in the O.K. Boys’ Ranch the same as I was, and he committed almost the same crime I did. But he did it twenty years later, because he’s twenty years younger. Why did this make me angry? James is on the Yard of a prison eighty miles northwest of here. He has life without the possibility of parole.

And, Tony. Who got let go from his job at the license plate factory for losing part of his hand in a metal cutting machine. Who often talked about the state boys’ ranch in eastern Washington where he grew up. Who ran laps in this Yard, taught other prisoners math, and did the best he could to make it in here for twenty-five years. Whose face, at least in my mind, no longer bears the weight of unending incarceration. And whose voice I swear I still hear in the corridor when it’s crowded, even though I know it can’t be him; because he hung himself in his cell. He had life without the possibility of parole.

But it isn’t only those faces that comprise this experience. There’s another face that I think of every day – the face of a person that I keep close because I refuse to forget that I wasn’t delivered into this institution innocent or blameless. As a young person without an education, a family, or hope for a future, I stabbed and killed someone. I’m bound irrevocably to that terrible act, and obligated to the human being I committed it against, in a way that doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with the impersonal cast of mandatory life without the possibility of parole sentence or prison. No matter how bad it gets in here, prison doesn’t feel like it makes up for anything. However, prison, even in the form it has devolved into in our country, has taught me something.

In prison, I’ve learned that no amount of pain or misery the criminal justice system assigns can undo the crime I committed, or make me any sorrier than I’ve been since the moment I committed it. And I’ve learned that remorse is the seed of change – personal reform – which is the only direction in which anyone who is remorseful can possibly move. I’ve learned that, although I can’t undo the crime I committed, I can strive to do good – which means caring about others – no matter what the circumstance. And I’ve learned that mass incarceration isn’t really how many people are inside prison. Mass incarceration is what I see reflected in the faces of those I know who’ve never lived outside it.

 

Arthur Longworth is an award winning writer including 3 national PEN awards.  At 50 years old after three decades and counting inside, he has a penetrating and unflinching perspective on the prison industrial complex.  He came into the prison system with a grade 7 education and now teaches college level spanish classes through University Beyond Bars and actively uses his words to impact those of us on the outside.

Kenny Lawrence – Change on the Inside

-WCFP recently received a letter from prisoner Kenny Lawrence, currently doing 30 years, in response to our call for stories in support of parole legislation.

My life before prison was full of work, family, and church about once a month when I had the time. I had been married at the time but not happily. After 14 years, we are finally divorced. I am not sure what information I can supply you with, other than the facts of my case as I recall them. I know that after 17 years of being in prison I am nothing like the monster that arrived here all those years ago.

Believe it or not, some of us actually do deserve to be here for as long as it takes to understand that what we do and how we go about doing it has ramifications for every one we know. I have a son and a daughter, and I have missed being there while they have both grown up without a father in their lives. My parents will both be dead before I get out, and I do not know any of my nieces, or nephews.

The strain that is put on me for what I have done is huge, but that has not touched on the subject of my crime.

I am very aware that my victim has family. My family is going through hell with me being in here and not out there where I can be of some help and support. However, my victim’s family does not have the option of visiting her. She is gone and no matter how much we wish it otherwise, she will remain gone…

I used to be soooo self-absorbed that whenever I did something that would affect others, I would look at what the overall cost to myself would be and then do it if the reward outweighed the risks. I look around me on a daily basis and see dozens of men that are exactly where I was when my time started. The saddest part is simply this, they will most likely get out in a year or two without ever thinking of just how many people their actions have affected nor will they care.

I truly think that my mind finally accepted the horror of what I have done at about ten years in, and it took another year to accept responsibility for what I had done, and these last years have been spent trying to figure out how to make amends for what I have done.

My son is 19 and my daughter is 17. She does not even know who I am, and he is so busy that he does not have time for me. This is my life. This is what I have become because I thought that the world owed me whatever I wanted.

Thank you for hearing me out.

Kenny Lawrence

SAVE THE DATE: Community Briefing June 20th, 2015

Rainier Valley Cultural Center
1-5 PM

Keynote Address

“The Legislative Environment”
Representative Roger Goodman
Chair, House Public Safety Committee
Member House Judiciary Committee

Please email us for details on potential rideshares and accommodations for children.

Why Parole?

More than one in seven 7 people in Washington State prisons is serving a life sentence. Many more are serving terms so long: 20, 30, or even 100 years that they too have essentially been sentenced to die in prison.

Washington’s rate of life sentences is historically and internationally unprecedented. Between 2001 and 2011 alone, the number of people 55 years old and older in our state prisons has almost doubled. The racial disproportionality that pervades Washington’s criminal justice system is just as severe with our lifer population. Public safety does not justify this.  According to a recent Academy of Sciences report, increasingly long sentences are a primary cause of mass incarceration since the 1990s and ineffective at reducing crime.

Nevertheless, and despite the multibillion-dollar prison building boom that Washington State taxpayers have funded since we abolished parole in 1981, most lawmakers will not consider any bill supporting form of review for people serving life sentence.

Join us in working toward bringing Washington’s policies in line with international human rights standards and the evidence of “what works” to reduce crime.  Join us in working to demand that every person in prison has meaningful opportunities for rehabilitation and a chance to have his or her sentence reviewed to determine whether there is any justice or public safety cause to continue it.

JOIN OUR COALITION:

Please sign up to join the coalition, with out you we will not be successful. Please have your voice heard!!

All members on the coalitions mailing list will get updates on this event, and future campaign events.

Prof. Michael Tonry’s blueprint to end mass incarceration

Similar to what we heard Allison Holcomb, National Director of the ACLU’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, state at the Beyond Bars conference, Prof. Tonry states that 3 Strikes, Truth in Sentencing and Mandatory Minimum legislation need to be repealed.  He goes further and states that every state needs to have Parole Board and LWOP needs to be eliminated.  Below is the complete summary of his 10-Step Blueprint. The WA Coalition for Parole will create the political will for the legislators to take action and bring a Parole Board back. It is through our efforts that this will manifest.  Are you with us?   When and if the will to roll back mass incarceration and to create just, fair, and effective sentencing systems becomes manifest, the way forward is clear.

First, three-strikes, mandatory minimum sentence, and comparable laws should be repealed. Second, any three-strikes, mandatory minimum sentence, and comparable laws that are not repealed should be substantially narrowed in scope and severity. Third, any three-strikes, mandatory minimum sentence, and comparable laws that are not repealed should be amended to include provisions authorizing judges to impose some other sentence “in the interest of justice.” Fourth, life-without-possibility-of-parole laws should be repealed or substantially narrowed. Fifth, truth-in-sentencing laws should be repealed. Sixth, criminal codes should be amended to set substantially lower maximum sentences scaled to the seriousness of crimes. Seventh, every state that does not already have one should establish a sentencing commission and promulgate presumptive sentencing guidelines. Eighth, every state that does not already have one should establish a parole board and every state should establish a parole guidelines system. Ninth, every state and the federal government should reduce its combined rate of jail and prison confinement to half its 2014 level by 2020. Tenth, every state should enact legislation making all prisoners serving fixed terms longer than 5 years, or indeterminate terms, eligible for consideration for release at the expiration of 5 years, and making all prisoners 35 years of age or older eligible for consideration for release after serving 3 years.” (Tonry, 2014)