Second Chances Resource Library

The Second Chances Resource Library contains resources related to expanding release opportunities
for people in prison who are serving long sentences or have other circumstances warranting release

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Found 258 resources
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PDF Illinois Resentencing Task Force Report

Organization/Publisher:Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council

The Illinois Resentencing Task Force (RTF) recommends legislators create new pathways for people currently incarcerated to be resentenced. This marks the first time an Illinois government entity has recommended retroactive reform and acknowledged retroactive reform is both constitutional and overdue.

The RTF released the report after a year-long study of ways to reduce Illinois’s prison population; the report includes 16 recommendations for the Illinois General Assembly and governor. Created by Public Act 102-99, the RTF examined how to address the inequities produced by current sentencing laws and by those from previous punitive, punishment-based eras.

The report’s primary recommendation is that legislators and the governor create both prospective and retroactive resentencing opportunities, allowing people who are currently in prison to have their cases reviewed. Sentencing reform in Illinois has almost always been prospective only – meaning these changes only apply to people sentenced after a bill’s effective date and people already incarcerated do not see relief. The report outlines a process by which prosecutors, people who are incarcerated, and defense attorneys could initiate resentencing processes. The report argues a resentencing process must consider mitigating factors, such as the convicted person’s age at the time of the crime, trauma history, substance abuse, and medical history. Further, the report highlights that people age out of crime and people who have served decades in prison rarely reoffend. Thus, resentencing must be considered for people serving lengthy sentences for serious crimes from decades ago.

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PDF Virginia Senate Bill 842

Organization/Publisher:General Assembly of Virginia

This bill, introduced in the 2023 legislative session, would make people eligible for a second look after 15 years of incarceration. The bill lays out eligibility, procedures, and factors for the court to consider when determining whether to modify a sentence.

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PDF A Second Look for Children Sentenced to Die in Prison

Organization/Publisher:Oklahoma Law Review
Author:Kathryn Miller

Scholars have championed “second look” statutes as a decarceral tool. Second look statutes allow certain incarcerated people to seek resentencing after having served a portion of their sentences. This Essay weighs the advantages and disadvantages of these statutes as applied to children sentenced to die in prison and argues that focusing on this small, discrete group may be a digestible entry point for more conservative states who fear widespread resentencing. Moreover, because early data indicates that children convicted of homicide and released as adults have very low recidivism rates, second look beneficiaries are likely to pose little threat to public safety. While resentencing and even releasing these individuals would not directly result in mass decarceration, it would serve as a litmus test for expanding second look statutes to adults convicted of violent crimes—the very group for whom meaningful decarceral efforts must ultimately be aimed.

The Essay also argues that second look legislation has the potential to redress two specific sentencing problems common to cases involving children: the inability to accurately assess an individual’s capacity for change and racially discriminatory sentencing outcomes. To redress these problems, and to avoid reflexive impositions of original sentences, this Essay recommends three critical additions to juvenile second look statutes: automatic eligibility for resentencing at age twenty-five, jury resentencing, and inadmissibility of the defendant’s original sentence.

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PDF Compassionate Release Report Card – Wyoming

Organization/Publisher:FAMM
Author:Mary Price

FAMM’s Compassionate Release Report Cards look at how well states provide compassionate release to medically vulnerable, aging, and terminally ill incarcerated people. They grade each state program on key measures such as eligibility criteria, procedures, release planning, and data collection/public reporting. Wyoming’s compassionate release program, “Medical Parole,” received a grade of F, and Wyoming’s overall grade is also F.

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PDF Compassionate Release Report Card – Wisconsin

Organization/Publisher:FAMM
Author:Mary Price

FAMM’s Compassionate Release Report Cards look at how well states provide compassionate release to medically vulnerable, aging, and terminally ill incarcerated people. They grade each state program on key measures such as eligibility criteria, procedures, release planning, and data collection/public reporting. Wisconsin has two compassionate release programs. “Sentence Modification Due to Extraordinary Health Condition or Age” received a grade of C+ and “Parole Due to Extraordinary Circumstances” received a grade of F. Wisconsin’s overall grade is also F.

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PDF Compassionate Release Report Card – West Virginia

Organization/Publisher:FAMM
Author:Mary Price

FAMM’s Compassionate Release Report Cards look at how well states provide compassionate release to medically vulnerable, aging, and terminally ill incarcerated people. They grade each state program on key measures such as eligibility criteria, procedures, release planning, and data collection/public reporting. West Virginia’s two compassionate release programs, “Executive Clemency Due to a Life-Threatening Medical Condition” and “Medical Respite” both received grades of F, and West Virginia’s overall grade is also F.

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PDF Compassionate Release Report Card – Virginia

Organization/Publisher:FAMM
Author:Mary Price

FAMM’s Compassionate Release Report Cards look at how well states provide compassionate release to medically vulnerable, aging, and terminally ill incarcerated people. They grade each state program on key measures such as eligibility criteria, procedures, release planning, and data collection/public reporting. Virginia has three compassionate release programs. “Conditional Release Based on Terminal Illness” and “Executive Medical Clemency” both received grades of F, while “Geriatric Conditional Release” received a grade of B. Virginia’s overall grade is also F.

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PDF Compassionate Release Report Card – Vermont

Organization/Publisher:FAMM
Author:Mary Price

FAMM’s Compassionate Release Report Cards look at how well states provide compassionate release to medically vulnerable, aging, and terminally ill incarcerated people. They grade each state program on key measures such as eligibility criteria, procedures, release planning, and data collection/public reporting. Vermont has two compassionate release programs. “Medical Parole” received a grade of D and “Medical Furlough” received a grade of F. Vermont’s overall grade is D-.

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PDF Compassionate Release Report Card – Utah

Organization/Publisher:FAMM
Author:Mary Price

FAMM’s Compassionate Release Report Cards look at how well states provide compassionate release to medically vulnerable, aging, and terminally ill incarcerated people. They grade each state program on key measures such as eligibility criteria, procedures, release planning, and data collection/public reporting. Utah’s compassionate release program, “Compassionate Release,” received a grade of F, and Utah’s overall grade is also F.

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