The United States Sentencing Commission received information on 57,377 federal criminal cases in which the offender was sentenced in fiscal year 2021. Among these cases, 57,287 involved an individual offender and 90 involved a corporation or other “organizational” offender. The Commission also received information on 4,680 cases in which the court resentenced the offender or otherwise modified the sentence that had been previously imposed. This publication provides an overview of these cases.
A review of cases reported to the Commission in fiscal year 2021 reveal the following:
The 57,287 individual original cases reported to the Commission in fiscal year 2021 represent a decrease of 7,278 (11.3%) cases from fiscal year 2020, and the lowest number of cases since fiscal year 1999. The number of offenders sentenced in the federal courts reached a peak in fiscal year 2011 and the number of cases reported in fiscal year 2021 was 33.5 percent below that level.
- Despite the decrease in overall caseload, sizeable increases were reported in drug trafficking, firearms, sex abuse, child pornography and money laundering cases.
- Cases involving drugs, immigration, firearms, and fraud, theft, or embezzlement accounted for 83.1% of all cases reported to the Commission.
Drug offenses overtook immigration offenses as the most common federal crime in fiscal year 2021, accounting for 31.3% of the total caseload.
- Drug possession cases continued a five-year downward trend, decreasing 29.6 percent from fiscal year 2020, while the number of drug trafficking cases rose 7.4 percent after reaching a five-year low in 2020.
- Two-thirds (67.7%) of drug trafficking offenders were convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty.
- Methamphetamine remained the most prevalent drug type. The 8,494 methamphetamine cases accounted for 48.0 percent of all drug crimes. The proportion of methamphetamine cases has increased steadily since fiscal year 2017, when those cases accounted for 36.6 percent of all drug cases.
- The number of fentanyl cases increased 45.2 percent from the year before and now constitute the fourth most numerous drug type. In contrast, the proportion of the drug caseload involving heroin and marijuana has steadily decreased over the last five years.