Lydia Tonozzi

Volume 74, Issue 3, 935-958

The dire state of the prison population in the United States has become common knowledge both at home and abroad. Mass incarceration in the United States has been caused by nearly four decades of retributive criminal justice policies that do little to reduce crime. This mass incarceration imposes a multitude of costs on American society, both financially and socially. Furthermore, congressional goals to reduce crime rates are necessarily undermined by punitive policies at the federal level. The history of California’s penal system during the same time frame parallels the federal history. Yet in 2017, California began to remedy this history by instituting Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing, a framework allowing prosecutors to file motions for resentencing using postconviction rehabilitation as a primary factor. This Note discusses why restraints on the current federal resentencing framework defeat the goals of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, as well as the goals of sentencing as articulated by that Act. Subsequently, this Note explains why instituting the California framework at the federal level would further federal sentencing goals while decreasing the federal prison population and maintaining public safety.