United States Sentencing Commission Publishes Annual Sourcebook for Fiscal Year 2021
The United States Sentencing Commission, a non-partisan agency that develops sentencing guidelines for federal criminal cases and takes statistical data for crimes and punishments has developed their annual sourcebook for Fiscal Year 2021.
Below are their findings and their fast facts, which is a summary.
FY21 Fast Facts
The Sourcebook presents information on the 57,287 federal offenders sentenced in FY21 (October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021)—a sentencing caseload that decreased by more than 7,000 from the previous fiscal year.
- Drug trafficking, immigration, firearms, and fraud crimes together comprised 83% of the federal sentencing caseload in FY21.
- Drug trafficking was the most common federal crime type sentenced, accounting for 31% of the caseload.
- Immigration cases accounted for the next largest group (30%) but decreased by more than one-third from the number of those cases in FY20.
- Methamphetamine continued to be the most common drug type in the federal system, and a steadily growing portion of the drug caseload (up from 31% of drug cases in FY16 to 48% in FY21).
- In FY21, Fentanyl moved into the top five drug types in the federal caseload. The Commission has added it to the Drug Offenses section of the Sourcebook.
- Methamphetamine trafficking continued to be the most severely punished federal drug crime (90 months).
- Two-thirds (67%) of drug offenders were convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty, holding steady from the previous year.
- 69% of federal offenders were sentenced under the Guidelines Manual (either within range or outside the range for departure reasons in the manual).
The Annual Report presents an overview of the Commission's work in FY21.
- Beginning in FY21 and continuing into FY22, the Commission has operated with only one voting commissioner, lacking the quorum required to promulgate guideline amendments. The Commission’s other statutory duties are unaffectedby the lack of four voting commissioners.
- The Commission published new findings from its largest recidivism study yet—combining Commission and FBI data to study more than 32,000 federal offenders over an 8-year follow-up period.
- The Commission has now released reports on firearms, drug trafficking, and violent offenders with more reports forthcoming.
- The Commission also continued to research specific issues of ongoing congressional concern and deliberation—releasing a report on the emerging problem of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, and two reports updating its 2012 report to Congress on child pornography offenses.
- In late September 2021, the Commission released the Judiciary Sentencing INformation (JSIN) tool—an online sentencing data resource developed for judges but made available to the public at large. The platform provides quick and easy online access to sentencing data for similarly-situated defendants, including the types of sentences imposed and average and median sentences.
- In FY21, the Commission conducted 115 virtual training sessions and more than 13,000 individuals attended live, online, or on-demand prerecorded training sessions—a three-fold increase over the number of trainees in a typical year.