The Commission establishes sentencing policies and practices for the federal courts. Each year, the Commission reviews and refines these policies in light of congressional action, decisions from courts of appeals, sentencing-related research, and input from the criminal justice community.
In this section, you can follow the Commission’s work through the amendment cycle as priorities are set, research is performed, testimony is heard, and amendments are adopted.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission is an independent agency in the judicial branch that was created as part of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Attorney General, or the Attorney General’s designee, and the Chair of the U.S. Parole Commission serve as ex officio, nonvoting members of the Commission.
In this section, learn about the Commission’s mission, structure, and ongoing work.
Commission issues Report to the Congress: Career Offender Enhancements. Report analyzes career offenders’ prior criminal history, incarceration terms and recidivism rates, and makes statutory recommendations.
Commissioners voted at a public meeting to promulgate an amendment to the guideline definition of a "crime of violence." Commissioners also voted to publish additional proposed guideline amendments. Commission seeks comment on revisions to immigration related guidelines, compassionate release, etc.
- Honorable Patti B. Saris, Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission praises the House Judiciary Committee's action to report sentencing reform legislation, "H.R. 3713, Sentencing Reform Act of 2015" to the full House for consideration.
- In the News: National Review Online publishes editorial by Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. entitled, “Why We Were Right to Reduce Sentencing Guidelines for Federal Drug Offenders” (November 4, 2015).
- Honorable Patti B. Saris, Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission praises the Senate Judiciary Committee's action to report sentencing reform legislation, "S.2123, Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015" to the full Senate for consideration.
- U.S. Sentencing Commission unanimously approved its list of 2014-2015 priorities, including consideration of federal sentences for economic crimes and continued work on addressing concerns with mandatory minimum penalties.
– The Commission submitted to Congress its report assessing the continuing impact of United States v. Booker on the federal sentencing system and reiterating statutory changes to strengthen the guideline system.
- On December 22, 2010, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Judge Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts to be chair of the Commission. The Senate also unanimously confirmed Dabney Friedrich of Maryland for a second term as a member of the Commission.
- Commission votes to send to Congress guideline amendments providing more alternatives to incarceration, increasing consideration of certain specific offender characteristics during the sentencing process.
- Sentencing Commission Toughens Requirements for Corporate Compliance and Ethics Programs; Agency Also Announces Increased Prison Sentences for Sex Offenses and Offenses Involving Hazardous Materials and Spamming.