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.
- USSC 2017-2018 Amendment Cycle
- USSC 2016-2017 Amendment Cycle
- USSC 2015-2016 Amendment Cycle
- USSC 2014-2015 Amendment Cycle
Sentencing Guideline Reports and Resources:
- Understanding the Difference: Guidelines vs. Mandatory Minimums
- Understanding the Difference: Armed Career Criminal vs. Career Offender
- Current Version of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
- USSC’s Introduction to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
- Federal Sentencing Guideline Amendments in a Nutshell
- Federal Public Defenders Deconstructing the Guidelines Series
- Sentencing Commission Quick Facts
- The Commission publishes very helpful fact sheets on a number of sentencing issues. They combine and analyze data collected by the Commission in 2-page summaries. Read Quick Facts on topics from fraud to drugs to career offender status and everything in between.
- Retroactivity Analyses
- Have you ever wondered how many people benefit when the Commission makes a guideline reduction retroactive? You can find updated and final reports on retroactivity here.