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

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Prison Releases Fiscal Year Report
1997-1998

Prison Releases

Prepared By:
Florida Department of Corrections
Bureau of Research and Data Analysis
August 31, 1998

Direct questions to:
Maria Toscano or Bill Bales
(850) 488-1801 or SC 278-1801
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2500

Executive Summary

This report documents permanent releases from Florida's prisons. For a detailed definition of a permanent release, please see the Appendix at the end of the report.

Overview

In Fiscal Year 1997/98 23,065 inmates were released from Florida's prisons. The majority of these releases, 13,581 (58.9%), were released by expiration of their sentence. Early release, which had begun in February 1987 and continued for a seven year period effecting the release of 181,149 inmates, was discontinued in December 1994. The end of early release came about due to accelerated prison construction, a drop in the number of admissions and the use of community diversionary programs. In June 1998 inmates released from Florida's prisons were serving an average of 74.0% of their court imposed sentence. It should be noted that inmates with offense dates on or after October 1, 1995 will be required to serve a minimum of 85% of their court imposed sentence prior to their release.

Profile of a Release

The majority of offenders released from Florida's prisons in Fiscal Year 1997/98 were black (12,814 or 55.6%) and male (21,238 or 92.1%). Most of the releases were between the ages of 25-34 (8,780 or 39.9%). Most were released by expiration of their sentence (13,581 or 58.9%) while 14,243 or (61.8%) were released with no supervision to follow. The majority of the releases were violent offenders (9,025 or 39.1%). Broward County received the largest number of prison releases (2,608 or 11.3%) followed by Hillsborough (2,097 or 9.1%), Dade (2,049 or 8.9%) and Pinellas (1,389 or 6.0%). The average time-served for all offenders released in Fiscal Year 1997/98 was 37.5 months or 71.8% of their court-imposed sentence while violent offenders served an average of 46.3 months or 69.5% of their court imposed sentence.

FAQ: A common question asked when comparisons in percentage of sentence served are made across different crime types is:

"Why do violent offenders have lower percentages than non-violent offenders?"

The reason for this current reality is as follows:

When sentencing and gaintime laws change in Florida, they are effective based on the date that the criminal offense was committed. Therefore, when one examines a group of inmate releases, one must also look at the time period in which the offense was committed as some cases were sentenced under policies in which the percentage of sentence served was lower than others.

The major changes to the percentage of sentence served occurred, first, for sentences for crimes committed on or after January 1, 1994. Basic gaintime, which reduced an inmate's sentence by 33%, was no longer allowed and minimum percentage of sentence served increased from 40% to 60%. Next, came the minimum 85% of sentence served law which affected sentences for all crimes committed on or after October 1, 1995.

Violent offenders tend to have longer sentences than non-violent offenders and, in general, do serve longer periods of time in prison. In the future, more of the violent offenders leaving prison will also have a higher percentage of sentence served as they will have been sentenced under the newer laws which allow significantly less gain time.

Links to charts:

1A.-4J. General Releases
1A Table Number of Releases by Release Type
1B Chart Prison Release Types
2A Table Offender Characteristics
2B Chart Supervision to Follow Release
3A Table Number of Releases by Offense Type
3B Chart Prison Release Type: Violent, Property, Drug, Other
3C Table Prison Releases by Judicial Circuit: Violent, Property, Drug, Other
3D Table Prison Releases by County (Top 20): Violent, Property, Drug, Other
4A Table Offense Type by Time-Served
4B Table Frequency of Percentage of Time-Served
4C Table Time-Served in DC Custody
4D Table Average Time-Served & Average Percentage of Sentence Served (All Offenders)
4E Table Average Time-Served & Average Percentage of Sentence Served (Violent Offenders)
4F Chart Average Percentage of Sentence Served by Gender
4G Chart Average Percentage of Sentence Served by Month (All Offenders)
4H Chart Average Percentage of Sentence Served by Month (Violent Offenders)
4I Chart Average Percentage of Sentence Served--Historical (All Offenders)
4J Chart Average Percentage of Sentence Served--Historical (Violent Offenders)

5A.-9B. Special Offender Releases

5A Table Offenders Age 50+ At Time of Release
5B Chart Offenders Age 50+ At Time of Release
6A Table Female Offender Releases
6B Chart Female Offender Releases
7A Table Violent Offender Releases
7B Chart Violent Offender Releases
8A Table Drug Offender Releases
8B Chart Drug Offender Releases
9A Table Sex Offender Releases
9B Chart Sex Offender Releases