There are currently over 175,000 federal inmates in the United States, 146,000 of whom are held in custody by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. When an inmate in federal prison commits a federal crime, he can be both sanctioned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and referred to a United States Attorney for prosecution of the crime in federal district court. In the federal district court, a judge will look to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines as a starting point to determine an appropriate sentence.
One question that the U.S. Sentencing Commission has not addressed, and on which federal appellate courts are divided, is whether prison disciplinary sanctions can be used as bases for downward departure under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines when inmates are prosecuted in federal courts for crimes they committed while incarcerated. This Note will consider that question and will then recommend that the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines be explicitly amended to include prison disciplinary sanctions as grounds for departure.
Crime and Punishment: Considering Prison Disciplinary Sanctions as Grounds for Departure Under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines,
26 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 791
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/crsj/vol26/iss2/11