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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 4. Sentence Severity and Prior Record

GOAL: The severity of the sentence increases with the length and nature of the offender's prior record. F.S. 921.001(4)(a)4.

FACT: As the number of prior felony convictions increases, the percentage of offenders sentenced to state prison increases.

FINDINGS:

  • Nearly 52% of offenders had no prior offense records or misdemeanors only (Table 1).

  • Only 8.6% of the offenders with no prior felonies were sentenced to state prison. More than 62% of offenders with six or more prior felony convictions were sentenced to state prison, regardless of the severity of the current offense (Table 2).

  • 61% of all offenders with no prior felony convictions were sentenced to probation (Table 2).

FACT: The average length of a state prison sentence increases as the number of prior felony convictions of offenders increases.

FINDINGS:

  • For offenders convicted of offenses with sentencing guidelines severity levels between 1 and 4, the average increase in state prison sentence length for each prior felony was 4.7 months. For levels 5 to 7, the increase for each prior felony resulted in an average increase of 9.2 months. And for levels 8 to 10, each prior felony added an average of 12.7 months to the state prison sentence (Table 3).

 

Table 1
 
Number of Prior Offenses
Fiscal Year 1996-97
     
Prior Offenses Number Percent
None 31,461 27.7%
Misdemeanors Only 27,365 24.1%
1 Felony 22,526 19.8%
2 Felonies 15,149 13.3%
3 Felonies 8,873 7.8%
4 Felonies 4,592 4.0%
5 Felonies 2,182 1.9%
6 Felonies 861 0.8%
7 or More Felonies 538 0.5%
Total 113,547 100.0%

 

Table 2
 
Prior Felony Record and Sanction Imposed
Fiscal Year 1996-97
   
             
Number of            
Prior State Community   County Other  
Felonies Prison Control Probation Jail Sentence Total
0 5,064 6,419 35,864 11,146 333   58,826
  8.6% 10.9% 61.0% 18.9% 0.6%   100.0%
1 3,588 2,764 8,969 7,156 49   22,526
  15.9% 12.3% 39.8% 31.8% 0.2%   100.0%
2 3,769 1,798 4,546 5,003 33   15,149
  24.9% 11.9% 30.0% 33.0% 0.2%   100.0%
3 2,997 892 2,132 2,841 11   8,873
  33.8% 10.1% 24.0% 32.0% 0.1%   100.0%
4 2,135 389 842 1,223 3   4,592
  46.5% 8.5% 18.3% 26.6% 0.1%   100.0%
5 1,190 188 302 501 1   2,182
  54.5% 8.6% 13.8% 23.0% 0.0%   100.0%
6 or more 874 100 138 287 0   1,399
  62.5% 7.1% 9.9% 20.5% 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%
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 tables.
 

Table 3
 
Average State Prison Sentence Length in Months
by Prior Felony Record and Sentencing Guidelines Level
Fiscal Year 1996-97
   
   
Number of Sentencing Guidelines Level
Prior Felonies 1-4 5-7 8-10
0 23.6 37.3 110.0
1 22.8 37.9 120.9
2 23.6 44.9 125.2
3 27.4 49.7 143.7
4 32.5 60.8 143.4
5 37.0 64.9 162.3
6 or more 46.5 84.0 171.2
Average Increase in  
Sentence for Each 4.7 9.2 12.7
Additional Prior Felony* months months months
       
* Calculations based on 6 or more prior felonies equal to 6.
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.