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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Part II Impact

Section 3. Penalties and Primary Offense Severity

GOAL: The penalty imposed is commensurate with the severity of the primary offense and the circumstances surrounding the primary offense. F.S. 921.001(4)(a)3.

FACT: As the severity of the primary offense increases, the proportion of offenders sentenced to state prison increases, and the length of the prison sentence increases.

NOTE: As a result of scoresheet preparation error or data entry error, there were a minimal number of cases in which the sentencing guidelines level is in error (see page 11 of this report for reasons why errors are not changed). See the Appendix in this report for the Severity Ranking Chart.

FINDINGS:

  • The proportion of those sentenced to state prison increased steadily from 3.3% at sentencing guidelines severity level 1, the offense level representing the least severe offenses, to 90.9% at sentencing guidelines severity level 10, the offense level representing the most serious offenses (Table 1).

  • Community Control sanctions were imposed progressively more from sentencing guidelines level 1 (8.8%) to sentencing guidelines level 7 (17.7%). Probation sanctions represented a decreasing proportion of cases as sentencing guidelines level moves from level 2 to level 10 (Table 1).

  • Over 60% of the offenders with a primary offense at sentencing guidelines severity level 8 received a state prison sentence of four or more years. Over 73% of level 10 offenders received a sentence of more than 10 years in state prison (Table 2).

FACT: The scoresheet total points are a sum of several component scores: the primary offense, additional offenses, prior offenses, victim injury, legal status violations, community sanction violations, firearm and weapons violations, and specific enhancements.

FINDINGS:

  • In most cases, the nature of the primary offense made the greatest contribution to total sentencing guidelines points -- as expected given the design of the guidelines. However, offenders scoring to state prison had, on average, a larger percentage of points associated with the nature and number of their additional offenses, as well as other scoring components, compared to those receiving less severe sanctions (Table 3).

  • Overall, the primary offense contributed about 65% of total points. This varied from nearly 76% for those with total points are in the non-prison category to 56% for those with total points in the recommended state prison category (see definitions of point categories in the Notes portion of Impact - Section 6 ). In the higher point ranges, prior record, additional offenses, and the other components made great contributions while legal status/community sanction violation points made a great impact at the lower ranges. (Table 3).

  • Over half of all scoresheets included points from additional offenses. About 74% had points related to prior record of the offender. Over 21% gained points from community sanction violations, and nearly 9% from victim injury. Of the victim injury points, most came from the slight or moderate categories (Table 4).

  • Most offenders have no additional offenses, or only misdemeanors (table 5).

 

Table 1
   
Sanction Imposed by Sentencing Guidelines Level
Fiscal Year 1996-97
             
Sentencing Guidelines          
Level of Primary Offense State Prison Community Control Probation County Jail Other Sentence Total
1 339 916 6,052 2,893 151 10,351
  3.3% 8.8% 58.5% 27.9% 1.5% 100.0%
2 617 1,026 7,415 2,587 53 11,698
  5.3% 8.8% 63.4% 22.1% 0.5% 100.0%
3 1,606 2,490 13,272 10,005 74 27,447
  5.9% 9.1% 48.4% 36.5% 0.3% 100.0%
4 2,691 1,900 8,755 5,201 46 18,593
  14.5% 10.2% 47.1% 28.0% 0.2% 100.0%
5 4,074 2,344 8,401 5,279 51 20,149
  20.2% 11.6% 41.7% 26.2% 0.3% 100.0%
6 2,587 1,486 4,637 1,382 29 10,121
  25.6% 14.7% 45.8% 13.7% 0.3% 100.0%
7 4,416 1,862 3,548 693 20 10,539
  41.9% 17.7% 33.7% 6.6% 0.2% 100.0%
8 1,296 337 492 78 2 2,205
  58.8% 15.3% 22.3% 3.5% 0.1% 100.0%
9 1,632 174 207 32 4 2,049
  79.6% 8.5% 10.1% 1.6% 0.2% 100.0%
10 359 15 14 7 0 395
  90.9% 3.8% 3.5% 1.8% 0.0% 100.0%
Total 19,617 12,550 52,793 28,157 430 113,547
  17.3% 11.1% 46.5% 24.8% 0.4% 100.0%

 

Table 2
   
State Prison Sentence Length
by Sentencing Guidelines Level
Fiscal Year 1996-97
         
  Prison Sentence Length in Years  
Sentencing Guidelines Level of Primary Offense LE 2* GT 2 - LE 4* GT 4 - LE 10* GT 10* Total
1 246 61 29 3 339
  72.6% 18.0% 8.6% 0.9% 100.0%
2 403 136 74 4 617
  65.3% 22.0% 12.0% 0.6% 100.0%
3 1,140 346 104 16 1,606
  71.0% 21.5% 6.5% 1.0% 100.0%
4 1,614 723 322 32 2,691
  60.0% 26.9% 12.0% 1.2% 100.0%
5 2,172 1,317 451 134 4,074
  53.3% 32.3% 11.1% 3.3% 100.0%
6 1,187 933 370 97 2,587
  45.9% 36.1% 14.3% 3.7% 100.0%
7 928 1,809 1,373 306 4,416
  21.0% 41.0% 31.1% 6.9% 100.0%
8 121 383 555 237 1,296
  9.3% 29.6% 42.8% 18.3% 100.0%
9 87 275 752 518 1,632
  5.3% 16.9% 46.1% 31.7% 100.0%
10 5 18 71 265 359
  1.4% 5.0% 19.8% 73.8% 100.0%
Total 7,903 6,001 4,101 1,612 19,617
  40.3% 30.6% 20.9% 8.2% 100.0%
           
* LE= Less than or equal to; GT=Greater than.

 

Table 3
 
Source of Sentence Points
by Recommended Sanction Category
Fiscal Year 1996-97
 
Guidelines Component Non-Prison Below 34.8 Points Discretionary* 34.8-52.0 Points State Prison Exceeding 52.0 Points
Primary Offenses 75.6% 63.5% 56.1%
Additional Offenses 3.4% 5.4% 9.1%
Prior Record 13.6% 21.5% 20.6%
Other Components** 7.4% 9.6% 14.2%
Victim Injury 0.3% 1.0% 6.9%
Legal Stat./Comm. Sanc. Viol. 6.5% 7.5% 3.4%
Firearm/Weapon Viol. 0.3% 0.5% 0.7%
Enhancements 0.3% 0.5% 3.2%
Total Points 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
 
*Judge has discretion in sanction to be applied.
** The Other Components category includes points for victim injury, legal status violations, community sanction violations, firearm and weapons violations, prior capital felony, prior serious felony, and enhancements.
These are grouped because these components apply to a relatively small proportion of cases, and the percentage attributable to them overall can be misleading as an indicator of their relative importance in cases where points are assigned.

Figure 1
Source of points for offenders scoring in recommended state prison category:  Primary offenses 56.1%, Prior Record 20.6%, Other Components 14.2%, Additional Offenses 9.1%.

Table 4
 
Average Sentence Points
For Offenders Receiving Points From That Component
Fiscal Year 1996-97
 
Guidelines Component Average Percent Receiving Points
Additional Offenses 6.5 52.1%
Victim Injury Total 27.8 8.5%
2nd Degree Murder 171.4 0.1%
Death 103.7 0.3%
Severe Injury 46.9 0.7%
Moderate Injury 19.2 1.8%
Slight Injury 4.6 4.4%
Sex Penetration 84.4 0.7%
Sex Contact 42.6 0.7%
Prior Record 10.4 73.7%
Legal Status Violation 4.0 9.9%
Comm. Sanction Violation 8.1 21.9%
Firearm Violation 18.0 0.9%
Weapon Violation 25.0 0.1%
Enhancements 86.2 0.9%
Note: In some instances offenses are listed on the scoresheet but are not scored or reflected in the total points. This may have a small effect on the above table.

 

Table 5
     
Number of Additional Offenses
Fiscal Year 1996-97
     
Additional Offenses Number Percent
None 62,879 55.4%
Misdemeanors Only 23,107 20.4%
1 Felony 19,508 17.2%
2 Felonies 5,224 4.6%
3 Felonies 1,724 1.5%
4 Felonies 574 0.5%
5 Felonies 257 0.2%
6 Felonies 125 0.1%
7 or More Felonies 149 0.1%
Total 113,547 100.0%
Note: In some instances offenses are listed on the scoresheet but are not scored or reflected in the total points. This may have a small effect on the above table.

Figure 2
Additional Offenses FY 96-97:  MM Only 20.4%, 1 Felony 17.2%, 2 Felonies 4.6 %, 3 or more felonies, 2.5%.