The ABA’s sentencing standards, now in their third edition, provide recommendations as to best practices related to the authorities that should promulgate and apply sentencing rules (including the legislature, the sentencing commission or a similar “intermediate” authority, trial and appellate judges); how each authority should carry out its respective functions; sentencing purposes and alternatives; and sentencing procedures.

This ALI project revised the sentencing and corrections provisions of the Model Penal Code in light of the many changes in sentencing philosophy and practice that have taken place since the Code was promulgated in 1962. The project adopted a normative framework based on the theory of limiting retributivism, and a structural framework inspired by the best state sentencing guidelines systems. Four drafts of proposed new Code provisions were  separately approved by the Institute’s membership and Council, and additional material was approved as part of the Proposed Final Draft (described below). Tentative Draft No. 1 (2007) dealt with the purposes of the sentencing system, the authority of sentencing commissions, presumptive sentencing guidelines, and the authority of courts in sentencing. Tentative Draft No. 2 (2011) contained material on prison sentences, including prison release and specialized rules for sentencing defendants who were under 18 at the time of their offenses. Tentative Draft No. 3 (2014) focused on "offenders in the community" (including deferred prosecution or adjudication, probation and post release supervision, economic sanctions, and sanctions for violations of release conditions), and also addresses the collateral consequences of conviction and punishment. Tentative Draft No. 4 (2016) contained revised provisions on sentencing purposes, criminal history enhancements, and victim restitution, as well as new provisions dealing with prior-custody credits and restorative justice. The Proposed Final Draft (2017) includes revised provisions on economic sanctions, prison sentences, collateral consequences, and jury fact-finding of aggravating facts, as well as new provisions on concurrent and consecutive sentences, sentencing alternatives and allowable considerations, sentencing procedures, sentence modifications, sentence appeals, and emergency release to avoid overcrowding in prisons, jails, and supervision caseloads.

Professor Kevin Reitz (Co-Director of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, UMN Law School) served as Reporter for the Model Penal Code: Sentencing project and Associate Professor Cecelia Klingele (University of Wisconsin Law School) was Associate Reporter.

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This site collects, analyzes and publishes information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government, including sentencing and corrections. For example, there are reports on felony sentencing in a nationwide sample of counties (NJRP series); on pretrial, adjudication, and sentencing practices as well as offense and offender characteristics for cases where felony charges were filed in a sample of the nation’s 75 largest counties (SCPS series); on inmate population counts and characteristics for prisons and jails (NPS and ASJ series); and on persons admitted to and released from state prisons (NCRP series).

This site collects and makes available for download raw data and research studies on a wide variety of criminal justice and other topics, including state and federal sentencing.

The National Association of Sentencing Commissions (NASC) was created to facilitate the exchange and sharing of information, ideas, data, expertise, and experiences and to educate on issues related to sentencing policies, guidelines and commissions. Its website contains information on current and past annual meetings of the organization, newsletters, and contact information and web links for all of the member sentencing commissions.

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering information about criminal justice and drug abuse to support research, policy, and program development. Its website includes extensive reference and referral services providing answers to hundreds of questions related to juvenile and criminal justice, victim assistance, substance abuse, and NCJRS services. In addition, a wide variety of publications and other products may be viewed on line or ordered in hard copy. This database contains more than 210,000 publications, reports, articles, and audiovisual products from the United States and around the world.

The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice connects theory, policy, and practice. It brings together researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to develop new ideas and foster more promising responses to serious problems. The Institute’s work lies within three broad, overlapping program areas: Criminal Law Theory; Sentencing Law and Policy (SLP); and Criminal Justice Policy. This guidelines resource center is one of four major projects of the SLP program area. The other three projects relate to criminal history (prior record) enhancements under sentencing guidelines, revocation and other sanctions for violations of probation and post-prison release conditions, and parole release decision-making.

This thoughtful, wide-ranging, and widely-read blog contains a wealth of information about recent court decisions, legislative and sentencing commission activities, and sentencing research by academics, government agencies, and independent scholars.

Through its research, publications, and advocacy, The Sentencing Project seeks to achieve a fairer and more effective American criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.

Special Thanks

Special Thanks

The Sentencing Guidelines Resource Center was made possible by generous funding from the Robina Foundation.

We would like to thank Research Assistants Tyler Adams; Adam Barkl; Doug Bryson; Steven Groschen; Jihn Harn; Andrew Kvitek; Chad Pennington; Thomas Schram; and Nicolas Smith for their work in helping to launch the Sentencing Guidelines Resource Center.