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September 06, 2023 RAPID RESPONSE

Second-Look Sentencing: What is Working?

One of the tools that states are implementing to reduce mass incarceration is “second-look sentencing.” Second-look sentencing policies allow judges to review and reconsider lengthy sentences after the defendant has served a significant period of incarceration. The Model Penal Code recommends that states provide for automatic judicial review of sentences after fifteen years for adult crimes and after ten years for crimes committed as minors. The specific proposals vary by jurisdiction, including which defendants qualify for review, how long a defendant needs to serve prior to review or release, and who makes the decision on whether to reduce the sentence. This webinar explores different attempts to implement second-look sentencing policies and evaluates which systems have achieved the identified goals.


  •  Jon Anderson  – Director of Special Litigation, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • David Angel – Assistant District Attorney, County of Santa Clara
  •  Dana Drusinsky – Deputy District Attorney, County of Alameda
  • Nazgol Ghandnoosh – Co-Director of Research, The Sentencing Project


  • J.D. King  –  James P. Morefield Professor of Law and Director, Criminal Justice Clinic, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Co-Sponsor: Task Force for Building Public Trust in the American Justice System


ABA 10 Principles on Reducing Mass Incarceration

  • ABA Resolution 502 in support of judicial resentencing after 10 years of imprisonment

  • ABA Resolution 504 in support of prosecutor-initiated resentencing

Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act Presentation

Second Look Network - a coalition of 70 organizations and over 150 attorneys and post-sentence advocates across the country working on behalf of incarcerated individuals seeking relief from lengthy or unfair sentences, beyond the context of wrongful conviction or innocence claims.

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, A Second Look at Injustice, The Sentencing Project (2021)

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