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.
The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA), Pub. L. No. 111-220, enacted August 3, 2010, reduced the statutory penalties for crack cocaine offenses to produce an 18-to-1 crack-to-powder drug quantity ratio. The FSA eliminated the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine and increased statutory fines. It also directed the Commission to amend the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines to account for specified aggravating and mitigating circumstances in drug trafficking offenses involving any drug type.
- 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.
(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.
Sensible Sentencing Reform: The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 This document provides background information on the impact of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which changed the statutory penalties for crack cocaine and eliminated the mandatory minimum penalty for simple possession of crack cocaine. Download the PDF
This document provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Commission's decision to give retroactive effect to the proposed permanent guideline amendment implementing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Background Information Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, effective August 3, 2010, that, among other things, increased the quantities of crack cocaine that trigger...