Guidelines and Statutes

Comprehensive Review of the Sentencing Guidelines

Comprehensive Review of the Sentencing Guidelines

The Commission engaged in a decade-long comprehensive review as part of the development of the 8th Edition Sentencing Guidelines. This review was highly participatory, involving input from current and past Commission members, an academic review panel, and key criminal justice stakeholders. Materials related to the review and development of the 8th Edition can be found below, and on the Commission Policy Meetings page.

On March 9, 2023, the Commission adopted the 8th Edition Sentencing Guidelines, and on June 8, 2023, approved the final document for publication. On August 26, 2023, the adopted 8th Edition Sentencing Guidelines were submitted to the General Assembly for review by way of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The 8th Edition Sentencing Guidelines include expanded preliminary provisions section which addresses authorization for guidelines; descriptions of sentencing alternatives and programs and definitions of terms; substantial changes to the assignment of offense gravity scores and the procedure for determining the prior record score; more targeted offense-specific sentence recommendations; and judicial proceeding considerations. 

The 8th Edition Sentencing Guidelines are set forth in 204 Pa. Code Chapter 303a (relating to sentencing guidelines, 8th edition) and apply to all offenses committed on or after January 1, 2024.

The 7th Edition Sentencing Guidelines and all previous editions of the sentencing guidelines are retained for reference in 204 Pa. Code Chapter 303 (relating to sentencing guidelines, 7th edition) and apply to all offenses committed prior to January 1, 2024.

Recorded Public Hearings


Presentations and Reports

  • Rationales for the Use of Prior Record at Sentencing (Memo 2020)
  • Prior Record Score Review (Presentation 2020)
  • The Impact of Juvenile Adjudications on Adult Prior Record Scores (Memo 2021)
  • Summary of Comprehensive Review:  8th Edition Sentencing Guidelines.  (Report June 2021)
  • Final Recommendations (related to Commission) related to more targeted guideline recommendation and reduction in the impact of PRS.  (Presentation 2016)
  • Act 115 of 2019 — specific changes related to Commission/guidelines, including changes to 42/2154 (factors considered in guidelines, modification of criminal history, creation of probation guidelines); 42/2154.1 (guidelines for restrictive conditions and link to certification of compliance); and 42/2154.7 (use of risk assessment to help determine intensity of intervention, use of restrictive conditions and duration of supervision).  (Summary)

Much of the work in developing and adopting the Sentence Risk Assessment Instrument informed aspects of the comprehensive review of the sentencing guidelines, including the uneven/limited use of PRS reports and the lack of information for consideration prior to sentencing on RNR; and the use of RNR to inform the duration and intensity of community supervision.

  • Presentation (2018)
  • An Empirical Reconstruction of the Prior Record Score, Heinz College Systems Synthesis Project, Carnegie Mellon University.  (Report 2018)
  • Prior Record Reform Project, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law Community Lawyering Clinic.  (Report 2019)