The U.S. Sentencing Commission is an independent agency in the judicial branch of government created by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. Congress enacted the SRA in response to widespread disparity in federal sentencing, ushering in a new era of federal sentencing through the creation of the Commission and the promulgation of federal sentencing guidelines.

The Commission's principal purposes are:

  1. to establish sentencing policies and practices for the federal courts, including guidelines to be consulted regarding the appropriate form and severity of punishment for offenders convicted of federal crimes;
  2. to advise and assist Congress and the executive branch in the development of effective and efficient crime policy; and
  3. to collect, analyze, research, and distribute a broad array of information on federal crime and sentencing issues, serving as an information resource for Congress, the executive branch, the courts, criminal justice practitioners, the academic community, and the public.


Federal Courts
The federal sentencing guidelines are used across the country in every one of the 94 judicial districts and 12 circuit courts. Federal judges are required to review and calculate the guidelines as they contemplate and impose an equitable sentence.
Geographic boundaries
of United States Court of Appeals and United States District Courts


Ex Officio Commissioner
Ex Officio Commissioner
Candice C. Wong
The Commission consists of seven voting members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, each serving six-year terms. More Information.
The Commission is advised by four standing advisory groups representing the views of practitioners, probation officers, victims, and tribal lands. More Information.


News releases
  • U.S. Sentencing Commission appoints James T. Strawley as Deputy Staff Director.


    U.S. Sentencing Commission proposes amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines, holds final public meeting of the current commission.


    Press Release


  • Commissioner Breyer selected as the recipient of the Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award, the nation’s highest honor bestowed upon an Article III federal judge.