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.
On April 30, 2014, the Commission submitted to Congress an amendment to the federal sentencing guidelines that revised the guidelines applicable to drug trafficking offenses. Specifically, the amendment reduced by two levels the offense levels assigned to drug quantities. Amendment 782 became effective on November 1, 2014. The Commission later voted to make this amendment retroactive.
- 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).
Reducing the Drug Quantity Table by Two Levels In April 2014, the United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to reduce sentencing guidelines for most federal drug trafficking offenders. In July 2014, the Commission voted, again unanimously, to make this sentencing reduction retroactive (effective on November 1, 2014). Courts can consider motions for retroactive sentence reductions...
Sensible Sentencing Reform: The 2014 Drug Guidelines Amendment This document provides background information on the Commission's unanimous decision in April 2014 to reduce sentencing guidelines for most federal drug trafficking offenders. In July 2014, the Commission voted, again unanimously, to make this sentencing reduction retroactive. Congress did not act to modify or disapprove the change,...