Federal Sentencing – Age

United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual, § 5H1.1 (2008).
“Age may be a reason to depart downward in a case in which the defendant
is elderly and infirm and where a form of punishment such as home
confinement might be equally efficient as and less costly than incarceration.”
Measuring Recidivism: the Criminal History Computation of the Federal Sentencing
Guidelines, A Component of the Fifteen Year Report on the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s
Legislative Mandate (May 2004).

Available at: http://www.ussc.gov/publicat/Recidivism_General.pdf
“Recidivism rates decline relatively consistently as age increases.” Id.at 12.
Nora V. Demleitner, Smart Public Policy: Replacing Imprisonment with Targeted Nonprison
Sentences and Collateral Sanctions, 58 Stan L. Rev. 338 (2005).
“As they constitute a large financial burden, older offenders might be a
primary target group for nonincarcerative sanctions.” Id. at 351.
United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention,
Annual Report (2005).

Available at: www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/212757.pdf
Confirming that adolescents “often use the emotional part of the brain, rather
than the frontal lobe, to make decisions” and “[t]he parts of the brain that
govern impulse, judgment, and other characteristics may not reach complete
maturity until an individual reaches age 21 or 22.” Id.at 8.
Jay N. Giedd, Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Adolescent Brain, 1021
Annals N.Y. Acad. Science 105-09 (June 2004).

Reporting results of longitudinal study for the National Institutes on Health on
brain development in adolescents showing that the prefrontal cortex, the
“executive” part of the brain important for controlling reason, organization,
planning, and impulse control, does not fully mature until the early twenties.
Elizabeth Williamson, Brain Immaturity Could Explain Teen Crash Rate, Wash. Post, Feb. 1, 2005, at A01.

Referring to same longitudinal MRI study by Dr. Jay N. Giedd for the National
Institutes of Health as showing “that the region of the brain that inhibits risky
behavior is not fully formed until age 25.”

Vera Institute of Justice, Esperanza Shows Promise at Lowering Recidivism Among
Troubled Teens, Saving City Millions, 21 July 2006.
Available at: www.vera.org

Vera’s demonstration project “Esperanza,” which provides alternatives to
placement for youth in trouble with the law, is helping to save New York City
million of dollars and shows promise for reducing recidivism — according to
a new report from the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO).
Esperanza and a similar program run by the Department of Probation saved
the city more than $1.2 million in 2005 and could save nearly $5 million this
year, the report notes. The authors project that outcomes could be even
better if the early recidivism numbers persist: “The city will have savings from
lower operating costs and also from lower recidivism which means lower jail
costs, less police time, and better outcomes for city youth.”

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Phone: (214) 871-1112

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