In this survey, the Commission sought input from United States district judges as part of its multi-year review of federal sentencing practices pertaining to imposition and violations of conditions of probation and supervised release, including possible consideration of amending the relevant provisions in Chapter Five and Seven of the Guidelines Manual. The Commission contracted with NORC at the University of Chicago to administer a survey to district judges regarding their experiences and opinions in handling cases involving the modification or revocation of probation or supervised release. NORC administered the survey as a third party in order to protect the confidentiality of the responding judges.
The specific topic areas addressed in the survey included:
- Judicial experience with probation and supervised release violations;
- General questions about Chapter Seven of the Guidelines Manual;
- Purposes of sanctioning an offender for violating the conditions of supervision;
- Factors relevant to revocation and sentencing decisions;
- The role of the probation officer in the context of probation and supervised release violations;
- Adjudication of new law violations (including those involving personal use of illegal drugs);
- Adjudication of technical violations; and
- General questions about the Guidelines Manual overall.