The Department of Justice has circulated nonbinding guidelines for federal prosecutors to use when deciding whether to indict corporations on criminal charges. According to a cover memo by Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, “Federal Prosecution of Corporations” is the result of an ad hoc working group of representatives from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and various DOJ divisions.

The 15-page document, sent to prosecutors around the country in June, establishes some general principles for the charging decision and then discusses in detail eight factors to be considered. It also offers guidance on the selection of particular charges and the negotiation of plea agreements.