Interaction of Federal Sentencing Guidelines and Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Basic Data - Sentencing Guidelines

"Congress charged the [US Sentencing] Commission with promulgating guidelines that are 'consistent with all pertinent provisions' of federal law338 and with providing sentencing ranges that are 'consistent with all pertinent provisions of title 18, United States Code.'339 To that end, the Commission has incorporated mandatory minimum penalties into the guidelines since their inception, and has continued to incorporate new mandatory minimum penalties as enacted by Congress.340
"The Commission generally has established guideline ranges that are slightly above the mandatory minimum penalty for offenders convicted of offenses carrying a mandatory minimum penalty, but its methods of incorporating mandatory minimum penalties into the guidelines have varied over time, with the benefit of the Commission’s continuing research, experience, and analysis.341 The Commission historically has achieved this policy by setting a base offense level for Criminal History Category I offenders that corresponds to the first guidelines range on the sentencing table with a minimum guideline range in excess of the mandatory minimum."

Source: 

"Report to Congress: Mandatory Minimum Penalties in the Federal Criminal Justice System" (Washington, DC: US Sentencing Commission, October 2011), p. 53.
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