December 16, 2009

News Release

U.S. Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle NE
Washington, DC 20002-8002

For Immediate Release
December 16, 2009

Contact: Michael Courlander
Public Affairs Officer
(202) 502-4597

SENTENCING COMMISSION APPOINTS NEW VICTIMS ADVISORY GROUP
CHAIR AND MEMBERS

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 16, 2009) – The United States Sentencing Commission announced today the appointment of a new chair and three new members to its Victims Advisory Group (“VAG”). The VAG is a standing advisory group that provides the Commission insight and advice on the operation of the federal sentencing guidelines from the perspective of victims of federal crime.

The VAG is composed of nine members representing the spectrum of interest groups and organizations interested in victims’ issues at the federal level. Group members were selected from a broad array of applicants, with the dual goal of providing the Commission with a victim-centered perspective on federal sentencing issues and providing a key educational role in the dissemination of sentencing-related information to victims groups and other interested advocacy groups.

Susan Smith Howley, public policy director for the National Center for Victims of Crime, will serve as chair of the VAG. The other new members of the VAG are –

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins
National Program Director for Victims and Survivors
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Paul G. Cassell
Professor of Law
S.J. Quinney College of Law
University of Utah

Charles C. Song, Esq.
Howrey LLP

“The Sentencing Commission welcomes the new members of the Victims Advisory Group and looks forward to receiving their input as the Commission continues its leadership role in formulating sentencing policy that protects and promotes public safety, remains fair and certain, and ensures equal justice for all parties involved in the process,” said U.S. Sentencing Commission Chair William K. Sessions III.

The VAG, the Probation Officers Advisory Group (POAG), and the Practitioners Advisory Group (PAG) are the standing advisory groups dedicated to providing information and practitioner insight to the Commission. VAG members serve three-year terms.

The following are the current members of the Victims Advisory Group:

Chair

Susan Smith Howley
Director, Public Policy
National Center for Victims of Crime

Members

Douglas E. Beloof
Director, National Crime Victim Law Institute
Lewis & Clark Law School

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins
National Program Director for Victims and Survivors
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Russell P. Butler
Executive Director
Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center

Paul G. Cassell
Professor of Law
S.J. Quinney College of Law
University of Utah

Montie R. Deer
Chief Justice of Iowa of Kansas & Nebraska

Pat Sekaquaptewa
Executive Director
The Nakwatsvewat Institute

Charles C. Song, Esq.
Howrey LLP

Howard Zehr
Professor of Restorative Justice
Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

The United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the judicial branch of the federal government, was organized in 1985 to develop a national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The resulting sentencing guidelines structure the courts’ sentencing discretion to help ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.


United States Sentencing Commission: