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Richard P. Kern
Memorial Award

In 2012, the National Association of Sentencing Commissions (NASC) established the Richard P. Kern Memorial Award and Keynote Address to recognize an individual who has contributed greatly to the development of sentencing policy and research. The award was named after Richard P. Kern, the Director of the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission and a great friend to NASC. Mr. Kern passed away in 2011 after a 14-year battle with cancer. His presence and contributions are greatly missed.

Long and Distinguished Career Inspires the Richard P. Kern Memorial Award, an explanation by Meredith Farrar-Owens.

About Richard P. Kern

Richard P. Kern was the Director of the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission from its creation in 1994 until his passing. During his career, Dr. Kern served as the Director of the Virginia Criminal Justice Research Center, and the Research Director for the Governor's Commission on Parole Abolition and Sentence reform. Dr. Kern served as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Sentencing Commission where he provided great direction to NASC. He was a tremendous advocate for sentencing guidelines, sentencing reform, and data-driven decision making. He left a lasting legacy in Virginia and in the national sentencing community.

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Past Honorees



2023 Honoree, Sara Andrews

Director (retired), Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission

Link Coming Soon


2022 Honoree, Kelly Lyn Mitchell

Executive Director, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, University of Minnesota

Reassessing, Rethinking, Revising: The Essential Work of Sentencing Commissions


2019 Honoree, Mark H. Bergstrom

Executive Director, Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing

Good Enough for Government Work


2018 Honoree, Professor Douglas A. Berman

Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Sentencing is Dang Hard … and So …


2017 Honoree, Professor Emeritus David Boerner

Seattle University School of Law

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2016 Honoree, Professor Steven L. Chanenson

Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law

Commissions at the Core


2015 Honoree, Honorable Patti Saris

Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Massachusetts, and Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission

Assessing DOJ’s Charging and Sentencing Policies


2014 Honoree, Professor Richard S. Frase

University of Minnesota Law School

Examining the Operation and Impacts of Prior Record Sentencing Enhancements


2013 Honoree, Professor Kevin Reitz

University of Minnesota Law School

“Risk Discretion” at Sentencing

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