The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of New York State, focused a portion of his annual State of the Judiciary Address to the practice of holding people facing, but not yet convicted of charges in jail for long periods of time, a practice he asserted "strips our justice system of its credibility and distorts its operation." Judge Lippman's comments urged legislative reform in pretrial detention practices to increase fairness and reduce costs. Judge Lippman went so far as to submit legislation that would have shifted the legal presumption of detention to one against jail, with the burden being on the prosecution to demonstrate the defendant posed either a danger to the community or was unlikely to appear for subsequent hearings. However, this legislation has yet to gain any momentum.
All crimes charged in federal court are governed by the United States Sentencing Guidelines ("guidelines"). These guidelines are created by the United States Sentencing Commission, which was created by Congress in the 1980's. The Guidelines were created in an attempt to equalize the wide disparity of sentences of similarly situated offenders.