U.S. Sentencing Commission

  1. independent agency in the judicial branch responsible for developing sentencing policies and practices for the federal courts. The commission, created in 1984, issues guidelines prescribing the appropriate form and severity of punishment for offenders convicted of federal crimes. It also evaluates the effect of the sentencing guidelines on the criminal justice system, advises Congress regarding the modification or enactment of statutes relating to criminal law and sentencing matters, and conducts research into sentencing, protection, and related issues.