Published on: Friday, June 16, 2023

Today, the United States Sentencing Comission published its notice of Proposed 2023-2024 priorities for the 2023-2024 Amenndment cycle in the federal register, avaialble here.  

The proposed priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2024, are as follows:

(1) Assessing the degree to which certain practices of the Bureau of Prisons are effective in meeting the purposes of sentencing as set forth in 18 U.S.C. 3553(a)(2) and considering any appropriate responses including possible consideration of recommendations or amendments.

(2) Promotion of court-sponsored diversion and alternatives-to-incarceration programs by expanding the availability of information and organic documents pertaining to existing programs (e.g., Pretrial Opportunity Program, Conviction And Sentence Alternatives (CASA) Program, Special Options Services (SOS) Program) through the Commission’s website and possible workshops and seminars sharing best practices for developing, implementing, and assessing such programs.

(3) Examination of the Guidelines Manual, including exploration of ways to simplify the guidelines and possible consideration of amendments that might be appropriate.

(4) Continuation of its multiyear study of the Guidelines Manual to address case law concerning the validity and enforceability of guideline commentary.

(5) Continued examination of the career offender guidelines, including (A) updating the data analyses and statutory recommendations set forth in the Commission’s 2016 report to Congress, titled Career Offender Sentencing Enhancements; (B) devising and conducting workshops to discuss the scope and impact of the career offender guidelines, including discussion of possible alternative approaches to the “categorical approach” in determining whether an offense is a “crime of violence” or a “controlled substance offense”; and (C) possible consideration of amendments that might be appropriate.

(6) Examination of the treatment of youthful offenders under the Guidelines Manual, including possible consideration of amendments that might be appropriate.

(7) Implementation of any legislation warranting Commission action.

(8) Resolution of circuit conflicts as warranted, pursuant to the Commission’s authority under 28 U.S.C. 991(b)(1)(B) and Braxton v. United States, 500 U.S. 344 (1991).

(9) Consideration of other miscellaneous issues coming to the Commission’s attention.

(10) Further examination of federal sentencing practices on a variety of issues, possibly including: (A) the prevalence and nature of drug trafficking offenses involving methamphetamine; (B) drug trafficking offenses resulting in death or serious bodily injury; (C) comparison of sentences imposed in cases disposed of through trial versus plea; (D) continuation of the Commission’s studies regarding recidivism; and (E) other areas of federal sentencing in need of additional research.

(11) Additional issues identified during the comment period.

Public comment should be received by the Comission on or before August 1, 2023.