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Research Products and Special Projects

Bullet Measuring Recidivism: The Criminal History Computation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. 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.

Bullet Recidivism and the "First Offender": 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.

Bullet Report of the Final Report of the Native American Advisory Group: November 4, 2003. This report contains the findings and recommendations of the ad hoc Native American Advisory Group. (.PDF)

Bullet Final Report: Survey of Article III Judges. The report contains detailed analyses of the survey responses, including responses for district and circuit court judges and comparisons of results across offense types. It contains a survey methodology section. The survey focuses on judges' perceptions of how the federal sentencing guidelines have responded to the goals Congress set forth in the Sentencing Reform Act. (March 2003)

Bullet Survey of Article III Judges Summary Report - The Summary Report provides a judge survey response overview of how federal sentencing guidelines have responded to the goals Congress set forth in the Sentencing Reform Act. The survey is part of the Commission's fifteen-year anniversary project and reports the judges' perspectives concerning the guidelines' effects on the criminal justice system. (December 2002) (.PDF)

Bullet Proceedings from the Symposium on Federal Sentencing Policy for Economic Crimes and New Technology Crimes (October 12-13, 2000). The purposes of this symposium were to discuss sentencing policy for economic crimes generally, and to discuss the impact of new technology on investigating, prosecuting, and sentencing economic crimes. Also available are the proceeding's video recordings.

Bullet Report of the United States Sentencing Commission to the Judicial Conference of the United States (September 1999). This 5-page report updates developments regarding commissioner vacancies and the ongoing work of the agency. (.PDF)

Bullet Report of the United States Sentencing Commission to the Judicial Conference of the United States (March 1999). This seven-page report outlines Commission activities and developments regarding Commissioner vacancies, recent guideline amendments, the ongoing work of the agency, and the increase in reported cases during the past fiscal year of 1998. (.PDF)

Bullet A two-hour, public briefing (February 4, 1999) included staff presentations on the following topics :Summary of Proposed Amendments & Issues for Comment, No Electronic Theft Act - Policy Development Team Report, Economic Crimes, Sexual Predators, Firearms Issues, and Longer Term Issues. Briefing Agenda.

Bullet Loss Definition Field Testing Report (10/98). In the summer of 1998, the Commission worked with the federal judiciary to field-test the Commission's proposed definition of "loss" for use in the theft and fraud guidelines. This report discusses the proposal, analyzes the results of the field test, and summarizes the comments made at the subsequent debriefing session attended by participants. (.PDF)

Bullet The Year In Review: 1997-1998. (July 1998) This ten-page report highlights the accomplishments of the U.S. Sentencing Commission during 1997-1998. The document describes recent achievements in areas including policy development; resolution of circuit conflicts; appellate review of guideline departures; legislative initiatives; training and education activities; research studies; and identifies areas for future study. (.PDF)

Bullet 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. (.PDF)

Bullet Research Bulletin - Just Punishment: Public Perceptions and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (3/97) (.PDF) In this study, more than 1,700 citizens throughout the U.S. provided their opinions on “just punishment” and crime seriousness issues. This paper describes the survey and its methodology, comparing public attitudes with the corresponding sentencing guideline ranges for four selected federal offenses: drug trafficking, bank robbery, immigration offenses, and fraud.

Bullet National Sample Survey: Public Opinion on Sentencing Federal Crimes (Berk & Rossi Report) This monograph reports the findings of a national survey commissioned by the USSC. Conducted in 1994 through face-to-face interviews, this study sought to determine how the American public would sentence persons convicted of crimes under the Federal Criminal Code. This report on " just punishment" compares the hypothetical sentences with those recommended in the guidelines.

Bullet Corporate Crime Symposium (Sept. 7-8, 1995) Proceedings Book (.PDF) This volume contains the proceedings of the Commission’s second symposium in a series on crime and punishment. This symposium on corporate crime focused on the ways in which companies, industries, and enforcement officials have responded to the organizational sentencing guidelines' incentives and other changes in the enforcement landscape that encourage businesses to develop strong compliance programs.

Staff and Advisory Working Group Reports

Bullet Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Policy Team - Report to the Commission (December 4, 2000)

Bullet Sentencing Federal Sexual Offenders: Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998 (February 14, 2000) The Sexual Predators Act Policy Team prepared this report to assist the Commission in developing possible responses to directives contained within the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-314).

Bullet Cellular Telephone Cloning Final Report (January 25, 2000). The Economic Crimes Policy Team addressed the development of options for implementing the directives contained in the Wireless Telephone Protection Act (Pub. L. No. 105-172; April 24, 1998). The report details the background, analysis, findings and policy options identified by the team. (.PDF)

Bullet Sentencing for the Possession or Use of Firearms During a Crime (January 6, 2000). This report of the Firearms Policy Team discusses possible Commission responses to Pub. L. No. 105-386 and other issues pertaining to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (.PDF)

Identity Theft Final Report (December 15, 1999). This is the final report of the Economic Crimes Policy Team in response to the Identity Theft and Deterrence Act of 1998. The report contains an executive summary and numerous appendices (.PDF)

Methamphetamine - Final Report of the Methamphetamine Policy Team (November 1999). This is the final report of the Methamphetamine Policy Team regarding implementation of the Methamphetamine Trafficking Penalty Enhancement Act of 1998. (.PDF)

Bullet No Electronic Theft Act Topics

No Electronic Theft Act - Policy Development Team Report (February 1999) (.PDF)- Also available: The Appendix containing the public comment, specific proposals previously published for comment, and a notice of request for public comment. Contact the Commission's Publications Request Line at 202-502-4568, or by e-mail at

No Electronic Theft Act Hearing of May 12, 1999: Testimony of the United States Sentencing Commission Before the Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the House Judiciary (.PDF)

Letter from Interim Staff Director Timothy B. McGrath to the Honorable Howard Coble, Chairman of Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, House Judiciary Committee (.PDF) - This document clarifies several issues concerning sentencing guidelines for intellectual property offenses that were raised during the course of the May 12, 1999, NET Act Hearing.

Bullet Telemarketing Fraud Working Group: Report to the Commission (January 1998) A Commission staff working group conducted a detailed study of telemarketing fraud offenses in conjunction with the Commission's multi-year comprehensive assessment of the fraud and related guidelines. (.PDF)

Bullet Manslaughter Working Group Report to the Commission (December 15, 1997). This report reviews the Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter guidelines, §§2A1.3 and 2A1.4, with the objective of assisting the Commission in determining whether the current guideline penalties are appropriate relative to other violent offenses. (.PDF)

Bullet Report from Advisory Group on Environmental Sanctions (.PDF) (12/93) This 1993 draft of proposed sanctions for organizations convicted of environmental offenses was prepared by an independent Advisory Working Group on Environmental Offenses. The proposal concerns the determination of aggravating factors in sentencing, organizational commitment to environmental compliance, and probationary periods for organizations.

Bullet Food and Drug Working Group Final Report (2/95) 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.

Bullet Money Laundering Working Group Report (2/95) This follow-up to an October 1992 report reviews the history of the Commission’s consideration of the money laundering guidelines, summarizes the earlier report, and updates case law and other relevant information available since the 1992 report.

Bullet Money Laundering Working Group Summary (2/95) This report summary reviews findings from the Money Laundering Working Group Reports relating to the operation of guidelines §2S1.1 and §2S1.2.

Bullet Guidelines Simplification Draft Reports

Bullet Report Summary - Computer Fraud Working Group (9/93) (.PDF) The Computer Fraud Working Group studied the effectiveness of the fraud and related guidelines on computer fraud offenses. This report summary presents an empirical study of defendants convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1030, as well as the working group''s summary of findings and recommendations.


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