Cite as: 529 U. S. 53 (2000)
Opinion of the Court
related, the terms are not interchangeable. The Court of Appeals was mistaken in holding otherwise, and the text of § 3624(e) cannot accommodate the rule the Court of Appeals derived. Supervised release has no statutory function until confinement ends. Cf. United States v. Grand-erson, 511 U. S. 39, 50 (1994) (observing that "terms of supervised release . . . follow up prison terms"). The rule of lenity does not alter the analysis. Absent ambiguity, the rule of lenity is not applicable to guide statutory interpretation. Cf. Gozlon-Peretz v. United States, 498 U. S. 395, 410 (1991).
While the text of § 3624(e) resolves the case, we observe that our conclusion accords with the statute's purpose and design. The objectives of supervised release would be unfulfilled if excess prison time were to offset and reduce terms of supervised release. Congress intended supervised release to assist individuals in their transition to community life. Supervised release fulfills rehabilitative ends, distinct from those served by incarceration. See § 3553(a)(2)(D); United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual §§ 5D1.3(c), (d), (e) (Nov. 1998); see also S. Rep. No. 98-225, p. 124 (1983) (declaring that "the primary goal [of supervised release] is to ease the defendant's transition into the community after the service of a long prison term for a particularly serious offense, or to provide rehabilitation to a defendant who has spent a fairly short period in prison for punishment or other purposes but still needs supervision and training programs after release"). Sentencing courts, in determining the conditions of a defendant's supervised release, are required to consider, among other factors, "the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant," "the need . . . to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct; . . . to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and . . . to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other cor-
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