What is the Public Comment Submission Portal?
The Public Comment Submission Portal is an online form that allows the public to participate in the Commission's amendment cycle and submit comment during an open formal public comment period. View the FAQs and five simple steps to submitting comment using the online portal.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that any comments submitted to the Public Comment Submission Portal will be considered a public record. For information about the Commission’s rulemaking and comment process, see the Rules of Practice and Procedure and FAQs below. Public comments on a specific Federal Register Notice are welcome during open comment periods. For any comments not submitted during an identified comment period, please email PubAffairs@ussc.gov.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Amendment Cycle?
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 and others. Input is collected primarily through a formal public comment process.
Who Can Comment?
Anyone! Public comment periods are open to the public. We often receive submissions from judges, incarcerated individuals, law enforcement personnel, defense attorneys, prosecutors, members of congress, advocacy groups, and other interested citizens. All are welcome to submit comment.
Why is Comment Important to the Commission?
Public comment submissions are vital to the amendment process. The Commission reads all submissions from the public to gauge interest in particular topics and uses that information to select which policy areas are prioritized and shape how the federal sentencing guidelines are amended.
When Can I Comment?
The Commission holds several formal public comment periods throughout the amendment year. Comment periods are open from June through August as Commissioners select their policy priorities, and again, from January through March when Commissioners propose amendments to the guidelines—though this may vary year to year. Check the Commission’s Federal Register Notices to stay up to date with the latest information.
What Should I Include in My Comment?
The public is encouraged to provide comment on any of the specific policy areas or proposals listed by the Commission in its Federal Register Notice.
What’s Eventually Posted Online?
The Commission reviews and catalogs all public comment submissions for future reference and official recordkeeping purposes. Due to limited Commission staff and resources available to prepare and redact submissions, a representative sampling of public comment is carefully selected and then posted online to provide the public with the kind of information considered by the Commissioners during their deliberations.
View a sample of comment received during prior comment periods here.
What Should NOT be Included in My Comment?
Selected public comment is made publicly available online. Please refrain from including any personal information such as your home address, home phone number, personal email address, prisoner identification number, etc.
Can I Submit Formal Comment In Other Ways?
Yes, the Commission also accepts formal public comment through regular mail. Comment can be mailed to:
Attention: Public Affairs
One Columbus Circle, NE
Suite 2-500, South Lobby
Washington, DC, 20002-8002
Who can I ask if I run into a problem with the Public Comment Submission Portal and need assistance?
Reach out to our Public Affairs office at PubAffairs@ussc.gov.