Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancement Act
(28 U.S.C 994)

Congress enacted a federal complement to state hate crime penalty-enhancement statutes in the 1994 crime bill. This provision required the United States Sentencing Commission to increase the penalties for crimes in which the victim was selected "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person." This measure applies, inter alia, to attacks and vandalism which occur in national parks and on federal property.

In May, 1995, the United States Sentencing Commission announced its implementation of a three-level sentencing guidelines increase for hate crimes, as directed by Congress. This amendment took effect on November 1, 1995.