In 1999, the State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy was established by the General Assembly (Chapter 648, Acts. of 1999). It succeeded the Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, which functioned from 1996 to 1999 (Chapter 563, Acts of 1996).

The State Commission is responsible for the State's voluntary criminal sentencing guidelines. It collects sentencing guidelines worksheets and automates the information; monitors sentencing practices, including judicial compliance with the guidelines; and, as necessary, adopts changes to the guidelines. The Commission integrates correctional options into the guidelines, and establishes criteria for determining which defendants should be eligible for correctional options (Code Criminal Procedure Article, secs. 6-201 through 6-215).

Court personnel are trained by the Commission to use voluntary sentencing guidelines. For estimating the impact of legislative or policy changes on State correctional resources, the Commission uses a correctional population simulation model.

Meeting quarterly, the Commission consists of nineteen members. Of these, eight are appointed by the Governor, two by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, two by the Senate President, and two by the House Speaker. Appointed members serve four-year terms. Five members serve ex officio. The Governor designates the Chair (Code Criminal Procedure Article, sec. 6-204).

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