Stop the Stack!

Gov. Tim Walz is trying to stack the Sentencing Guidelines Commission to weaken sentences

The Sentencing Guidelines Commission decides how long criminals stay in prison and guess what? Tim Walz wants to let them out sooner. Luckily, recent attempts to soften sentences have been thwarted by the judges who sit on the commission.

But now Walz is pushing through a bill (HF 2956/SF 3060) that would change how judges are appointed and create a spot for an “incarceration survivor,” giving him the ability to stack the commission with his cronies who will vote for weaker sentences.

Stop the Stack! Sign the petition!

This is a blatant power grab and an insult to victims of crime who expect consistent justice from our system.

What is the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission?

The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission is a sleepy little agency with a very important job — they determine the presumptive sentences for felony offenses committed in Minnesota.

The legislature created the MSGC in 1978, mandating its “primary consideration” to be “public safety.” The goal of the commission was to produce guidelines that created consistency of sentencing by offense across the state. As created, the MSGC has eleven commissioners, eight appointed by the governor and three appointed by the Chief of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Over the last several years, Governor Walz’s appointees to the commission have consistently advocated for reduced penalties and reduced incarceration. Such criminal justice reform policies have caused many to complain that the system appears more concerned with the impact of consequences on criminal offenders than the impact of their crimes on the victims and the community as a whole.

For far too long, the work of the MSGC has carried on comfortably out of sight and out of the influence of everyday Minnesotans. That needs to change.

More Resources

Stacking the Sentencing Guidelines Commission — a legislative effort to push our sentencing practices further left

The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission – what you need to know about this influential body

Minnesota Judges set record high rate of departures from prison sentences in 2021

A statement to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission

Judicial Performance – a look at sentencing departures in Minnesota

“Never mind”: The tone-deaf members of Minnesota’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission abandon their plan to reduce prison terms during our record spike in violent crime. At least for now.

They listened! Sentencing Commission postpones vote