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
  • (June 2016) In fiscal year 2015, there were 827 oxycodone trafficking offenders, who accounted for 4.2% of all offenders sentenced under the drug trafficking guidelines. The number of oxycodone offenders has increased by 6.6% since fiscal year 2011.


  • (June 2016) In fiscal year 2015, there were 2,640 heroin trafficking offenders, who accounted for 13.3% of all offenders sentenced under the drug trafficking guidelines. The number of heroin offenders has increased by 49.6% since fiscal year 2011.


Research Reports
  • (June 2016) This report provides the Tribal Issues Advisory Group's views on federal sentencing issues relating to American Indian defendants and victims, and offenses committed in Indian country.

  • (March 2016) This report provides a broad overview of key findings from the United States Sentencing Commission’s study of recidivism of federal offenders. The Commission studied offenders who were either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005. In the future, the Commission will release additional publications discussing specific topics concerning recidivism of federal offenders.

  • (February 2016) This report examines sentence reductions for offenders who cooperate with the government in its efforts to investigate or prosecute others. Offenders can receive credit for their “substantial assistance” in at least two ways; at the time of sentencing (USSG §5K1.1 departure motions) and after sentencing (Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b) motions). In both instances, the government must make a motion for a lower sentence. 

Data Reports
  • These reports examine annual federal sentencing statistics from each judicial district, the districts within each judicial circuit, and the districts within each state. Each report compares the statistics from the respective district, circuit, or state to the nation as a whole.

  • Upon the release of the Commission's Sourcebook and Annual Report for each fiscal year, the reports of preliminary data for that fiscal year are removed from the Commission's website. As indicated in the mont

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

  • These reports present data on cases in which a motion for a reduced sentence was considered under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) as a result of amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines, including the 2014 Drug Amendment, 2010 Fair Sentencing Act Amendment, and 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment.

  • 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.

  • This publication presents a broad overview of federal sentencing data for fiscal year 2014. 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. (August 2015)

Data Files

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
  • (June 2016). This report is submitted to Congress pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 994(w)(3) regarding the compliance of the federal district courts with the documentation submission requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 994(w)(1).

  • (August 2015) The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) reduced the statutory penalties for crack cocaine offenses to produce an 18-to-1 crack-to-powder drug quantity ratio. This report assesses the impact of the FSA on the federal criminal justice system. 

  • (December 2012) This report is the result of a multi-year study by the Commission and complements and expands upon the Commission's 2009 report, The History of the Child Pornography Guidelines. The purpose of this report is to contribute to the ongoing assessment by Congress and the various stakeholders in the federal criminal justice system regarding how federal child pornography offenders are prosecuted, sentenced, incarcerated, and supervised following their reentry into the community.