Prosecutor-Initiated Sentence Adjustment
On August 1, 2023, Minnesota became the sixth state in the nation to have a Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing (PIR) law. This law provides prosecutors in Minnesota the authority, should they choose to use it, to look back at past cases from their county and ask a court to shorten the sentence. The Court then examines the prosecutor’s recommendation and determines whether a person should be resentenced.
The Ramsey County Attorney plans to use this new law for a limited number of cases in appropriate circumstances, and we are currently working with our Sentence Review Community Advisory Board in developing a process and guidelines for reviewing cases. Our Advisory Board is made up of a diverse group of community members including leaders in crime victim services and advocacy, corrections, law enforcement, criminal defense, the faith community, and government.
At this time we are not processing requests for review, but we are in the process of reviewing all cases of incarcerated individuals from Ramsey County and pre-screening cases for priority consideration. We plan to identify priority cases for moving forward in early 2024. Please do not send us any information or materials at this time and check back here for any updates.
How the Law Works
- Prosecutors may decide whether or not to utilize the new law and what process and criteria they want to consider.
- The PIR process requires a prosecutor’s careful review of the incarcerated person’s history, in-prison behavior and reentry planning. The process also includes victims, ensuring proper notice and an opportunity to participate.
- If someone’s case is selected for review, the court, not the prosecutor, will decide if there should be a sentence reduction.
The new law can be found here at Article 6 Section 10.
Background Information on the Law
County Attorney Choi was one of the lead advocates for this law because for some people sentenced to prison in the past, their sentence may no longer serve the interests of justice; may no longer be needed to protect public safety; and may not be a good use of critical correctional and public safety resources.
Healing for victims and the rehabilitation and re-entry of the person who is convicted and sentenced is an important part of maintaining justice in our society, and the role of a prosecutor does not end after someone has been sent to prison. This new law provides a direct path for prosecutors who are accountable to their community to ask the court to reconsider the sentence based on current circumstances, including the input of victims. Two of the State’s largest victim/survivor coalitions, Violence Free Minnesota and the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault also supported the legislation.