Research
The Commission collects, analyzes, and disseminates a broad array of information on federal crime and sentencing practices. The Office of Research and Data collects data from documents submitted by the courts in each case in which a defendant is sentenced. From that data, the Commission prepares and disseminates public reports on a wide variety of sentencing issues. The Commission also uses this data in its consulting capacity to the courts, Congress, and the Executive Branch.


Explore our research and data reports below or download our datafiles and perform your own analysis.

Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics



Quick Facts
  • (March 2017) In fiscal year 2016, there were 2,404 offenders convicted of alien smuggling, accounting for 12.7% of all immigration offenders sentenced under the guidelines. In 11.2% of alien smuggling cases, an unaccompanied minor was smuggled.


  • (March 2017) In fiscal year 2016, there were 15,744 offenders convicted of illegal reentry, accounting for 82.6% of all immigration offenders sentenced under the guidelines. The number of illegal reentry offenders has decreased 18.2% over the last five years.

Research Reports
  • (March 2017) The focus of this report is the 25,431 U.S. citizen federal offenders released from prison or placed on probation in calendar year 2005. The findings included in this report build on those in the Recidivism Overview Report. Information about the components of Chapter Four of the Guidelines Manual—including total criminal history score, criminal history category, and point assignments for types of past convictions—and their association with recidivism are contained in this report.

  • (February 2017) This report examines a group of 10,888 federal drug trafficking offenders who were released in calendar year 2005. These 10,888 offenders, who were all U.S. citizens, represent 42.8 percent of the 25,431 federal offenders who were released in calendar year 2005 and analyzed in the Commission’s 2016 report, Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview.

  • (September 2016) The number of federal offenders whose most serious offense was simple drug possession increased nearly 400 percent during the six-year period between fiscal years 2008 and 2013. A change of this magnitude over a relatively short period of time triggered further investigation into these cases using data on offender and offense characteristics routinely collected by the United States Sentencing Commission, as well as additional data collected specifically for this project.

Data Reports
  • (April 2017) These reports compare annual federal sentencing statistics from each judicial district, the districts within each judicial circuit, and the districts within each state to the nation as a whole.

  • (March 2017) The preliminary data in these reports present selected quarterly sentencing information submitted to the Commission by the U.S. Courts.

  • (June 2016) These annual reports provide data on the frequency of application of specific guidelines, including increases for aggravating factors and decreases for mitigating factors.

  • (January 2017) These reports present data on retroactive application of guideline amendments, including the 2014 Drug Amendment, 2010 Fair Sentencing Act Amendment, and 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment.

  • (October 2016) When possible, the Commission performs prison and sentencing impact assessments as part of its consideration of amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines. The Commission also is often asked to perform prison and sentencing impact assessments for Congress.

  • (June 2016) This publication presents a broad overview of federal sentencing data for fiscal year 2015. It provides a brief, easy-to-use reference on the types of criminal cases handled by federal courts and the punishments imposed on offenders convicted in those cases. 

Commission Datafiles

The Commission's individual datafiles provide information on the sentences imposed in cases involving individuals. In these datafiles the individual is the unit of analysis. These datafiles do not contain information from the Commission's Organizational, Resentencing, or Appeals Databases.

The Commission's organizational datafiles provide information on the sentences imposed in cases involving organizational offenders (i.e., corporations, partnerships, and other entities having a legal existence separate from the individuals having an interest in them).

Commission datafiles that are used in various reports to Congress. These datafiles may contain information collected during a special coding project performed for a particular report and, therefore, will not be available in the Commission's fiscal year datafiles.

 

Reports to Congress