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About The Sentencing Foundation

What is The Sentencing Foundation?

The Sentencing Foundation (TSF) is the logistical support for a crime reduction program known as Resource-Based Sentencing and Supervision. At its core, the program is a system of accountability specifically designed to reduce recidivism while simultaneously promoting and improving the general public’s perception of the Criminal Justice System’s ability to actually produce just results.

What is Resource-Based Sentencing and Supervision?

Resource-Based Sentencing and Supervision (‘The Program’) was created to end the practice of defendants only appearing before a judge to be punished. To understand how it works, one must understand the difference between the typical system of sentencing and supervision, and “resource-based” sentencing and supervision.

How Does Sentencing and Supervision Typically Work?

A guilty person will face a sentencing judge after a guilty plea or a trial deeming them guilty. The judge will pronounce a sentence which will order that person to probation, jail or a combination of jail and probation/parole. 

Excluding those of specialty courts (like mental health courts, drug treatment courts, or other diversionary programs), the general path in state and federal criminal courts transfer the convicted person to a probation officer or a parole officer, once any period of incarceration has been served. The next time the sentencing judge encounters that person is when a probation or parole officer requests a Violation of Probation/Parole (“VOP”) hearing. Generally, a VOP request is made because the convicted person has either had an additional arrest, an additional conviction or the officer finds some other lack of compliance. The officer generally recommends additional punishment measures. 

Since supervising judges generally have no experience with the convicted person (beyond the sentencing hearing, and possibly prior VOP hearings), that supervising judge will usually follow the officer’s recommendation. 

How Does Resource-Based Sentencing and Supervision Work?

The program functions on a system of accountability, requiring effort on the part of the sentencing/supervising judge, committed re-entry resource(s) and the defendant. All three parties are held accountable for the defendant’s progress.

The sentencing/supervising judge will:

  1. Identify the reason(s) for the defendant’s offense;

  2. Order conditions which directly address the identified reason(s); 

  3. Engage with the defendant to construct a comprehensive plan on how to meet the ordered condition(s);

  4. Conduct periodic status hearings to hold the defendant accountable for making reasonable progress on fulfilling the condition(s). 

The judge will refer defendants to cost-free re-entry resources that will assist them in fulfilling the ordered condition(s). Resources may fall under one of the following categories:

  • Mental Health Support

  • Substance Abuse Guidance

  • Educational / Vocational Training

  • Employment and/or Entrepreneurial Opportunities

  • Long-Term and Short-Term Housing Solution Related Services

The program holds the resources and the defendants directly accountable to the sentencing and supervising judge. Probation/parole officers will continue to supervise the defendants, and will act as a liaison between the resources and defendants. Sentencing/supervising judges are responsible for pronouncing comprehensive sentences and providing direct oversight of guilty defendants’ progress, playing an active role in ensuring the defendant does not reoffend.

This program helps defendants (when appropriate) reimagine their lives, providing them with the resources required to become productive citizens and not recidivate (reoffend). It aims to serve as a mechanism by which a paradigm shift can occur in how criminal-justice-involved people interact with their sentencing and supervising judge.

What is the Difference Between Regular Sentencing & Supervision and Resource-Based Sentencing & Supervision?

Typical sentencing does not involve such attention on the part of the judge; therefore, after sentencing, the defendant is relegated to already overburdened probation/parole officers, and/or left to their own devices. This is likely to result in recidivism, continuing the cycle of mass incarceration, and further increasing crime, leaving communities unsafe. Resource-Based Sentencing and Supervision ensures that the defendant is provided with the tools needed to not reoffend.

Please see the flowchart below to better understand the difference between the two models of sentencing and supervision.

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Is TSF Applicable in Any Jurisdiction?

Yes.  TSF ensures that Resource-Based Sentencing and Supervision can effectively and efficiently operate in every state and federal criminal court in America regardless of whether it is in big cities or small rural communities. 

What is a Gap-Resource?

The term “gap-resource” refers to resources needed to close the gap between the existing TSF resources registered and/or certified as nonprofit organizations, and those existing TSF resources registered and/or certified as for-profit organizations required to assist defendants in completing all comprehensive sentence conditions. 

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