Since 1987, the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) has been writing and updating the federal sentencing guidelines, which are used when calculating sentences in federal cases. Unlike mandatory minimum sentencing laws (which are mandatory), the guidelines are advisory. The USSC proposes new guidelines for new criminal laws and issues guideline “amendments” each year that alter existing guidelines.
FAMM participates in the guideline amendment process by testifying before the USSC, providing feedback and analysis of proposed changes, and meeting with USSC commissioners and staff. Since the guidelines are used to sentence over 80,000 federal offenders each year, our advocacy for better guidelines can have a big impact! FAMM believes that the advisory guidelines should be used instead of mandatory minimum sentences because they provide courts with guidance as well as flexibility to make the punishment fit the crime and the individual.