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.


2018-2019 Amendment Cycle

  • proposed priorities
  • final priorities
  • proposed amendments
  • final amendments
  • Public Comment

    August 16, 2018



    The Commission received comment on proposed priorities for the 2018 - 2019 amendment year (ending May 1, 2019).

  • Federal Register Notice

    June 28, 2018


    The Commission has proposed priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2019 and has requested public comment.

    Public comment should be received by the Commission on or before August 10, 2018. 

    83 FR 30477


  • Federal Register Notice

    August 28, 2018


    The Commission has finalized priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2019.

    Federal Register Notice


  • Press Release

    August 23, 2018


    U.S. Sentencing Commission adopts 2018-2019 policy priorities. 



  • Event

    August 23, 2018


    A public meeting of the Commission was held on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 11:00 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. A video recording is available.