U.S. Sentencing Commission Releases 2021 Annual Report and Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics

The Federal Docket

March 16, 2022

This week, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which has lacked a quorum for 3 years, released its annual compilation of federal sentencing statistics, the “sourcebook.” The Commission’s report includes statistics regarding the length of sentences imposed based on the type of offense, the demographics of the offender, the jurisdiction for prosecution, and other measures. The sourcebook also reports on appeal issues and sentence modifications and reductions.

Among the most notable stats:

  • 57,287 defendants were sentenced in fiscal year 2021, 11.3% fewer than 2020. USSC reports that this is a 33.5% decrease since 2011.
  • Drug offenders comprised about a third of defendants sentenced in 2021, followed by immigration offenders (29.6%), firearm offenders (14.2%), and fraud/theft offenders (8%).
  • The most common drug involved in federal drug cases was methamphetamine at 48%, and there was a 50% increase in fentanyl cases
  • Immigration cases saw the biggest decreases in sentencing, with a third less this year than in 2020, and the vast majority of the decrease was in “illegal entry cases.” Drug possession cases saw the next biggest decrease.
  • The average loss in fraud cases and other cases involving economic crimes was $5.1 million, a $4 million increase from last year. There were at least 86 cases with a loss amount over $25 million–10 of these involved over $550 million in loss.
  • 75% of convictions on appeal were affirmed, and another 8.6% dismissed, reflecting the long odds facing appellants.

Click here to read the Sourcebook.

Click here to download the Sourcebook.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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