Policymaking

Policymaking
One of the Commission’s principal purposes is to establish sentencing policies and practices for the federal courts. Each year, the Commission reviews and refines the guidelines in light of congressional action, decisions from courts of appeals, sentencing-related research, and input from the criminal justice community. There have been over 800 amendments since the guidelines went into effect in 1987.


Learn more about our amendment process below.
  • Proposed Priorities
    June - August
    The Commission begins the amendment cycle in early spring with a Commission planning session. By late spring, the Commission publishes for public comment a list of tentative policy priorities.
  • Final Priorities
    September - December
    In late summer, the Commission votes to adopt final priorities. These are the issues the Commission will address in the amendment cycle. Then, staff policy teams are formed to research the various issues and develop recommendations, including possible guideline amendments.
  • Proposed Amendments
    January - March
    Typically in January (but sometimes earlier) the Commission publishes proposed amendments responding to its list of priorities. The Commission solicits comment from the general public and stakeholder groups and holds public hearings to receive testimony on the proposed amendments.
  • Adopted Amendments
    April - May
    Typically in April (but sometimes earlier), the Commission votes on whether to adopt amendments. No later than May 1, amendments are submitted to Congress for a 180-day review period. If Congress takes no action during this period, the adopted amendments become effective November 1.

 

2023-2024 Amendment Cycle

  • Public Comment

     

     

    The Commission received comment on proposed priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2024.

  • Federal Register Notice

     

    The Commission seeks comment on proposed priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2024.
     

    Public comment should be received by the Commission on or before August 1, 2023. 

     

     

  • Public Comment

     

     

    The Commission received comment on proposed priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2023.

  • Press Release

     

    The Commission proposed policy priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2023. 

  • Federal Register Notice

     

    The Commission seeks comment on proposed priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2023.
     

    Public comment should be received by the Commission on or before October 17, 2022. 

     

     

  • Press Release

     

    The Commission regains a quorum for the first time in three years, enabling it to amend federal sentencing guidelines, issue sentencing policy.

  • Event

    As part of its 2024 policy priority work, the Commission hosted a roundtable discussion on the Categorical Approach and Career Offender Guidelines, inviting several experts including judges, practitioners, and academics.

  • Web page

     

    This page provides a collection of publicly available resources on First Step Act Earned Time Credits.  It will be updated periodically as the Commission continues its policy priority work in this area.

  • Web page

     

    This page provides a collection of publicly available resources on problem-solving courts, including diversion, alternatives-to-incarceration, and reentry programs. It will be updated periodically as the Commission continues its policy priority work in this area.

  • Press Release

     

    Commissioners voted at a public meeting to allow delayed retroactive application of Amendment 821 relating to criminal history. The Commission also approved new policy priorities for the amendment year ending May 1, 2024.

  • Federal Register Notice

     

    The Commission published final priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2024.
     

    Federal Register Notice

     

     

  • Event

     

    A public meeting of the Commission was held on Thursday, August 24, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. (EDT) pursuant to Rule 3.2 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the United States Sentencing Commission. 

     

    A video recording and transcript are available. 

  • Federal Register Notice

     

    The Commission published final priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2023.

    Federal Register Notice

     

  • Press Release

     

    The Commission finalized policy priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2023. 

  • Event

     

    A public meeting of the Commission was held on Friday, October 28, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. (ET) pursuant to Rule 3.2 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the United States Sentencing Commission. 

     

    The meeting was streamed live. 

  • Event

     

    A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7, 2024 to receive testimony on proposed amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines.

     

    This event will be live-streamed.

  • Public Comment

     

     

    The Commission received comment on proposed amendments for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2024.

  • Video

     

    Commission staff prepared a data supplement to inform public comment on a proposal relating to simplification.

  • Video

     

    Commission staff prepared data to inform public comment on a proposal relating to youthful individuals.

  • Federal Register Notice

     

    The Commission published proposed amendments for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2024.
     

    Federal Register Notice

     

  • Amendments

     

    This document contains unofficial text of proposed amendments to the sentencing guidelines provided only for the convenience of the user in the preparation of public comment.   

    The proposed amendments and issues for comment are subject to a public comment period running through February 22, 2024.

     

    "Reader-Friendly" Version of Proposed Amendments

  • Press Release

     

    The Commission published proposed amendments and issues for comment for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2024. 

  • Event

     

    A public meeting of the Commission was held on Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 2:00 pm (ET) pursuant to Rule 3.2 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure.

    A transcript and video recording are available. 

  • Public Comment

     

     

    The Commission received comment on proposed amendments for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2023.

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on Criminal History during the 2022-2023 amendment year.

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on "Compassionate Release" during the 2022-2023 amendment year.

  • Amendments

     

    This document contains preliminary unofficial text of final amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines, which was submitted to Congress on April 27, 2023 (effective November 1, 2023).
     

    "Reader-Friendly"

    Official Text

    Amendments In Brief
     

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on Career Offender during the 2022-2023 amendment year.

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on Safety Valve during the 2022-2023 amendment year.

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on Acceptance of Responsibility during the 2022-2023 amendment year.

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on Crime Legislation during the 2022-2023 amendment year.

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on Sexual Abuse offenses during the 2022-2023 amendment year.

  • Resource

    An overview of the Commission's work on Fake Pills during the 2022-2023 amendment year.