Topical Index of Publications


List of All Content

Acceptance of Responsibility

Alternative Sentencing

Bank Robbery

United States v. Booker (Including Blakely v. Washington)

Buy American Act

Child Pornography

  • Report to the Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses (December 2012)

    This comprehensive report examines federal sentencing policy in child pornography cases. It focuses primarily on non-production offenses under USSG §2G2.2. One chapter also analyzes production of child pornography offenses under USSG §2G2.1. This report is the result of a multi-year study by the Commission and complements and expands upon the Commission's 2009 report, The History of the Child Pornography Guidelines (See below).

  • The History of the Child Pornography Guidelines (October 2009)

    This report provides a history of the child pornography guidelines. This report is the first step in the Commission's ongoing examination of the child pornography guidelines.

Corporate Crime (See also "Historical Development of Guidelines")

Criminal History (See also "Recidivism")

Data Collection and Analysis



Drugs (See also "Recidivism", "Retroactivity")


  • Report on Federal Escape Offenses in Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007 (November 2008)

    In response to a suggestion in a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, United States v. Chambers, 473 F.3d 724 (7th Cir. 2007), cert. granted, __ U.S. __ , 128 S. Ct. 2046 (2008), the United States Sentencing Commission undertook a data analysis of federal escape cases to inform the legal question of whether the crime of escape qualifies as a "violent felony" for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), the Armed Career Criminal Act (the "ACCA"). This report summarizes the legal question at issue and describes the methodology and results of the analysis undertaken by the Commission.

Firearms (Including "Arms Exportation")

Food and Drug

  • Food and Drug Working Group Final Report (February 1995)

    This update to a February 1994 report includes an overview of the food and drug guideline, §2N2.1, and the most commonly prosecuted crimes sentenced under it. The report provides a description and analysis of food and drug cases involving individuals sentenced under §2N2.1 in fiscal years 1991-93, and describes food and drug cases involving organizational defendants sentenced under pre-guidelines law.

Fraud and/or Theft

Historical Development of the Guidelines


Intellectual Property

  • Intellectual Property Amendments: 2006 Policy Development Team Report (May 2006)

    This Report focuses on the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (the "Act"), the Intellectual Property Protection and Court Amendment Act of 2005 ("IPPCA Act"), and the CAN-SPAM Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7704. The Commission acted upon directives in the Act by amending, pursuant to emergency authority, the intellectual property guideline, USSG §2B5.3, effective October 24, 2005, and recently voted to promulgate that amendment as a permanent amendment. The Commission also promulgated guideline amendments to follow from the IPPCA Act and the CAN-SPAM Act.

Life Sentences

Mandatory Minimum Penalties


Money Laundering

National Defense (Including "Weapons of Mass Destruction")

Prison Resources

Public Corruption

Recidivism (See also "Criminal History")

  • Recidivism Among Federal Violent Offenders (January 2019)

    This report analyzes the recidivism rates of federal offenders who engaged in violent criminal activity. The report is the fifth in a series examining a group of more than 25,000 federal offenders who were released from federal custody in calendar year 2005.

  • Recidivism Among Federal Offenders Receiving Retroactive Sentence Reductions: The 2011 Fair Sentencing Act Guideline Amendment (March 2018)

    This publication reports on recidivism of crack cocaine offenders who were released immediately before and after implementation of the 2011 Fair Sentencing Act Guideline Amendment, and followed in the community for three years.

  • The Effects of Aging on Recidivism Among Federal Offenders (December 2017)

    This report is the fourth in a series examining a group of more than 25,000 federal offenders who were released from prison or placed on probation in calendar year 2005. The report analyzes the impact of the aging process on federal offender recidivism and, once age is accounted for, the impact of other offense and offender characteristics.

  • The Past Predicts the Future: Criminal History and Recidivism of Federal Offenders (March 2017)

    This report examines a group of more than 25,000 federal offenders who were released from prison or placed on probation in calendar year 2005. Information about the components of Chapter Four of the Guidelines Manual—including total criminal history score, criminal history category, and point assignments for types of past convictions—and their association with recidivism are contained in this report.

  • Recidivism Among Federal Drug Trafficking Offenders (February 2017)

    This report examines a group of more than 10,000 federal drug trafficking offenders who were released from prison or placed on probation in calendar year 2005. These offenders, who were all U.S. citizens, represent about 40% of the 25,000 federal offenders analyzed in the Commission’s 2016 Recidivism Overview report.

  • Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview (March 2016)

    This report provides a broad overview of key findings from the United States Sentencing Commission’s study of recidivism of more than 25,000 federal offenders who were either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005.

  • Recidivism Among Offenders Receiving Retroactive Sentence Reductions: The 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment (May 2014)

    This publication provides an updated recidivism analysis of crack cocaine offenders who were released early after implementation of a 2007 guidelines amendment which retroactively reduced by two levels the base offense levels assigned by the Drug Quantity Table for crack cocaine. In this five-year study, these offenders were compared with similarly situated offenders who served their original sentences.

  • Recidivism Among Offenders with Sentence Modifications Made Pursuant to Retroactive Application of 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment (May 2011)

    This memorandum analyzes the impact on recidivism rates, if any, of sentence reductions under the retroactive application of the 2007 Crack Cocaine Amendment, which reduced by two levels the base offense levels assigned by the Drug Quantity Table for each quantity of crack cocaine and for which the Commission granted retroactive application effective March 3, 2008.

  • A Comparison of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Criminal History Category and the U.S. Parole Commission Salient Factor Score (January 2005)

    The third release in the Research Series on the Recidivism of Federal Offenders describes the empirical foundations of the guidelines' Chapter Four Criminal History Category and its links to the Salient Factor Score risk prediction instrument developed by the U.S. Parole Commission. The report documents the comparative recidivism predictive power of both measures, both for their individual component elements, and for their total formulations. The analysis measures the predictive power of hypothetical reformulations of the Criminal History Category, reporting a suggested impact of age and first offender elements upon guideline recidivism prediction.

  • Recidivism and the "First Offender" (May 2004)

    This second release in the Research Series on the Recidivism of Federal Offenders provides an empirical foundation for the Commission's study of recidivism rates among federal offenders with little or no criminal history prior to the federal instant offense. Using definitional frameworks established in several earlier Commission staff working group studies on "first offenders," the data documents recidivism risk for three plausible first offender groupings. The analysis reports that recidivism risk is lowest for those offenders with least experience in the criminal justice system.

  • Measuring Recidivism: The Criminal History Computation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (May 2004)

    The first release in the Research Series on the Recidivism of Federal Offenders, this report examines in detail the predictive statistical power of the Chapter Four Criminal History guidelines. The study uses pre-conviction and instant offense information for a sample of guideline federal offenders sentenced in fiscal year 1992, matched with their post-sentencing criminal behavior collected from FBI records. Both tabular and statistical models of recidivism outcomes report findings by criminal history category and point groupings, as well as by offender demographics, instant offense characteristics, and recidivating offense types.

Retroactivity (See also "Recidivism")


Sentencing Trends

Sex Offenses


  • Working Group Purpose Statement (November 1996)

    This simplification project’s purpose statement describes the need for a comprehensive review of the guidelines. The review’s objective is twofold: (1) to reduce the complexity of guideline application; and (2) to improve federal sentencing by working closely with the judiciary and others to refine the guidelines.

  • Sentencing Reform Act (November 1996)

    This staff discussion paper provides an overview of the principal purposes and features of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (SRA). The principal SRA provisions that shape and constrain drafting of the sentencing guidelines are described, including the constraints of the “25 percent rule.” The paper enumerates congressional directives enacted subsequent to the SRA that further limit Commission amendment discretion and exert Congress’s direct influence over the levels of severity and specificity reflected in the guidelines for many offenses.

  • Departures and Offender Characteristics (November 1996)

    This staff discussion paper analyzes departures and offender characteristics under the guidelines and includes a discussion of pertinent sections of applicable statutory directives and their legislative history, and a review of empirical information on current departure practice and appellate review standards.

  • Chapter Three Adjustments (November 1996)

    This staff discussion paper examines the major policy issues in Chapter Three of the Guidelines Manual (except for “Part D - Multiple Counts” which is the topic of a separate report) by reviewing data, case law, hotline calls, training experiences, and pertinent literature. The aim of this paper is to explain why Chapter Three includes certain adjustments and how the adjustments are working.

  • Relevant Conduct (November 1996)

    This staff discussion paper examines the tension between real-offense and charge- offense sentencing and the Commission’s response to it: the relevant conduct guideline. The paper discusses the federal criminal code and the ways in which the code and the Sentencing Reform Act eliminate the possibility of a pure offense of conviction sentencing system. Finally, the paper outlines broad options to address these issues.

  • Chapter Two Level of Detail (November 1996)

    This paper focuses on the 151 offense guidelines in Chapter Two of theGuidelines Manual. The paper discusses the choices the Commission made about: the factors important to sentencing; the assignment of a specific weight to a base offense level or a specific offense characteristic (SOC); cross reference determinations; and departure decisions

  • Chapter Four Criminal History (November 1996)

    This staff discussion paper has three components: (1) policy issues regarding the ability of the current criminal history score to adequately distinguish between offenders; (2) an outline of several issues that create guideline application problems; and (3) alternative criminal history measures that may improve the current guidelines.

  • Multiple Counts (November 1996)

    This staff discussion paper reviews the guidelines’ multiple count rules (Chapter Three, Part D). The paper presents information from a year’s worth of hotline calls that dealt with multiple count application. Information on judicial interpretation was obtained from appellate case law on multiple count issues.

  • Sentencing Options Under the Guidelines (November 1996)

    The Sentencing Options Working Group examined the various alternatives to imprisonment that are possible under the guidelines. This paper analyzes: (1) statutory directives regarding alternatives, (2) ways in which the guidelines define and allocate sentencing options, (3) criticisms of the existing approach, (4) guideline complexity, (5) judicial use of existing options, (6) factors that account for use or non-use of alternatives, and (7) evaluations of the effectiveness of particular alternatives.

  • Simplification Draft Paper, Working Group on Guideline Simplification (June 1995)

Supervised Release

Substantial Assistance (Includes Rule 35(b))

  • The Use of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b) (February 2016)

    This report examines sentence reductions for offenders who cooperate with the government in its efforts to investigate or prosecute others. Offenders can receive credit for their “substantial assistance” in at least two ways; at the time of sentencing (USSG §5K1.1 departure motions) and after sentencing (Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b) motions). In both instances, the government must make a motion for a lower sentence.

  • Substantial Assistance: An Empirical Yardstick Gauging Equity in Current Federal Policy and Practice (January 1998)

    This exploratory research report examines the guidelines' "substantial assistance" policy statement in light of the guidelines' overall statutory goal of fair and honest sentencing. The study focused on whether different districts' policies and procedures were consistent and whether similar defendants were receiving similar sentence reductions for providing similar assistance.



Tribal Issues

Violent Offenders

Year in Review

Youthful Offenders

  • Youthful Offenders in the Federal System (May 2017)

    This publication presents information about youthful offenders (age 25 or younger for purposes of this report), including their demographic characteristics, what type of offenses they were sentenced for, how they were sentenced, and the extent of their criminal histories. The report also discusses the intersection of neuroscience and law, and how this intersection has influenced the treatment of youthful offenders in the criminal justice system.