Research
The Commission collects, analyzes, and disseminates a broad array of information on federal crime and sentencing practices. The Office of Research and Data collects data from documents submitted by the courts in each case in which a defendant is sentenced. From that data, the Commission prepares and disseminates public reports on a wide variety of sentencing issues. The Commission also uses this data in its consulting capacity to the courts, Congress, and the Executive Branch.


Explore our research and data reports below or download our datafiles and perform your own analysis.

Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics



Quick Facts
  • (July 2018) In fiscal year 2017, there were 3,910 powder cocaine trafficking offenders, who accounted for 20.3% of all offenders sentenced under the drug trafficking guidelines. The number of powder cocaine offenders has decreased by 27.0% since fiscal year 2013.

     

  • (July 2018) Of the 66,873 offenders sentenced in fiscal year 2017, 19,240 offenders were sentenced for a drug trafficking offense. This document provides an overview of those offenders, though this information may vary depending on the type of drug involved in the offense.

Research Reports
  • (Originally published in 2015; updated in 2018) This primer provides an overview of the federal sentencing system. For context, it first briefly discusses the evolution of federal sentencing during the past four decades, including the landmark passage of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, as well as key Supreme Court decisions concerning the guidelines. It then describes the nature of federal sentences today and the process by which such sentences are imposed. 

  • (September 2018)  This publication examines the application of mandatory minimum penalties specific to identity theft offenses, including analyses of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A, which provides for a two-year mandatory minimum penalty, as compared to identity theft offenses that do not carry mandatory minimum penalties.  

  • (July 2018)  This publication examines the application and impact of the statutory penalty enhancement for federal drug trafficking offenders with a prior felony drug conviction (21 U.S.C. § 851).  

Data Reports
  • (October 2018) The preliminary data in these reports present selected quarterly sentencing information submitted to the Commission by the U.S. Courts.

  • (August 2018) When possible, the Commission performs prison and sentencing impact assessments as part of its consideration of amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines. The Commission also is often asked to perform prison and sentencing impact assessments for Congress.

  • (August 2018) These reports present data on retroactive application of guideline amendments, including the 2014 Drug Amendment, 2010 Fair Sentencing Act Amendment, and 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment.

  • (June 2018) This publication presents a broad overview of federal sentencing data for fiscal year 2017. It provides a brief, easy-to-use reference on the types of criminal cases handled by federal courts and the punishments imposed on offenders convicted in those cases. 

  • (May 2018) These annual reports provide data on the frequency of application of specific guidelines, including increases for aggravating factors and decreases for mitigating factors.

  • (April 2018) These reports compare annual federal sentencing statistics from each judicial district, the districts within each judicial circuit, and the districts within each state to the nation as a whole.

Commission Datafiles

The Commission's individual datafiles provide information on the sentences imposed in cases involving individuals. In these datafiles the individual is the unit of analysis. These datafiles do not contain information from the Commission's Organizational, Resentencing, or Appeals Databases.

The Commission's organizational datafiles provide information on the sentences imposed in cases involving organizational offenders (i.e., corporations, partnerships, and other entities having a legal existence separate from the individuals having an interest in them).

Commission datafiles that are used in various reports to Congress. These datafiles may contain information collected during a special coding project performed for a particular report and, therefore, will not be available in the Commission's fiscal year datafiles.

 

Reports to Congress