How Do You Write a Sentence-Reduction Letter?

Write a letter requesting sentence reduction using business letter formatting to maintain a professional appearance. Include an appropriate greeting to the judge, and explain why the sentence should be reduced.

  1. Follow business letter formatting

    Follow simple business formatting with single spacing between lines and a double space between paragraphs. Place the sender’s name and address, followed by the date, in the upper left-hand corner. Below that, type the judge’s name and address.

  2. Address the letter to the judge

    Convey respect in the greeting by addressing the judge by his proper title: for example, “Dear Magistrate Judge Smith.”

  3. Write the body of the letter

    Keep the letter concise, sincere and truthful. Clearly state an understanding of the nature of the crime. Include information about good deeds that the prisoner has consistently performed, the character of the prisoner and how he has changed since being brought into court.

  4. Emphasize the detriment of the sentence

    Close the letter with examples of how being sent to prison for a long time is harmful to the prisoner and his family. For example, note that the loss of employment and income places financial stress on the entire family.

  5. Sign off

    Close the letter by thanking the judge for taking the time to read the letter. Sign off with a closing such as “Best Regards.” Include the sender’s full name, title and signature at the bottom of the letter.