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

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Comparative Description

NOTES: This section examines the sentencing parameters point values, as follows:

  • The Criminal Punishment Code allows for a non-state prison sanction for offenders scoring 44.0 or less total points.
  • The Code mandates state prison as the sanction, unless the sentence is mitigated, for all those offenders whose total points exceed 44.0. This means that only those offenders scoring 44 or less points may receive a non state prison sanction under the Code. All others must receive a state prison sanction, absent downward departure from this structure.
Florida Statute 921 allows for circumstances or factors that reasonably justify the downward departure of Guidelines/Code scoresheet.

Actual sanctions imposed, including state prison, community control, probation, county jail/time served, and other sanctions are presented and compared to the categories listed above.

FINDINGS:

  • Across the state, 17.4% of offenders were sentenced to state prison as the most severe sanction in FY2000-2001. An additional 23.8% were sentenced to incarceration in county jail, or to time already served in jail. Over eight percent (8.3%) were sentenced to community control, and almost 50% to probation (49.9%), including drug offender probation, administrative probation, and regular probation. Less than one percent of offenders were sentenced to "other" sanctions. For sentencing dates in FY1999-2000, 18.0% of offenders were sentenced to state prison and 22.5% were sentenced to county jail or time served. Less than nine percent (8.7%) were sentenced to community control, and 50.1% to probation. Only 0.7% of the offenders were sentenced to "other" sanctions (Table 1).

  • Almost eight out of ten of the 85,824 Code scoresheets with sentence date in FY2000-2001 examined (65,400 scoresheets or 76.2%) scored less than 44 points (Table 1). These scoresheets represent sentencing events where the judge has the discretion to sentence the offender to either a non-state prison sanction or a state prison sanction. If the judge chooses to sentence the offender to state prison, the judge has the discretion to sentence the offender up to the statutory maximum of the law. For scoresheets with sentence dates in FY1999-2000, there were 70,461 (76.8%) offenders scoring less than 44 points (Table 1).

  • For FY2000-2001, of the offenders scoring in the recommended state prison category, 54.4% were sentenced to state prison, with another 12.1% sentenced to county jail or time served. Of those scoring less than 44 points, just below 6% were sentenced to state prison, and 27.4% to county jail/time served. For FY1999-2000, almost fifty-eight percent if the offenders scoring above 44 points were sentenced to state prison (57.5%) and another 9.8% of these offenders were sentenced to county jail or time served. Of those scoring less than 44 points, 6.2% were sentenced to state prison, and 26.3% to county jail/time served. (Table 1).

  • Table 2 presents the scoring distribution of offenders under the Code for FY1999-2000 and FY2000-2001 by the circuit and sanction imposed. Circuit 11 (Miami) shows the highest percentage of scoresheets scoring to the state prison sanction at 90.7% and 91.8%, respectively. Circuit 4 (Jacksonville) has the lowest percentage of state prison scoring offenders, with 54.4% for FY1999-2000 and 53.5% for FY2000-2001.

  • Incarceration rates vary greatly by county and circuit. Jail sanctions also vary greatly depending on number of beds available and judicial inclination to use the jail sanction. Table 3 presents the distribution of sanction imposed by circuit and county. Although variance in sentencing does exists at the circuit and county level based on the judge involved, variability in the statistics presented in this table could also be as a result of differences in the type of offenders being sentenced around the state. There are also very small numbers of scoresheets for some of the counties listed in this table. The incarceration rates for counties with less than 100 scoresheets could possibly be misleading.

  • Within the Code policy, a true mitigation occurs when an offenders scores more than 44 total points and either receives a non-state prison sanction or a state prison sentence length below the 25% permissible discretion. A sanction mitigation occurs when an offender scores more than 44 total points, but receives an non-state prison sanction.

  • The true mitigation rate for offenders that scored more than 44 total points is 55.5% for FY1999-2000 and 58.2% for FY2000-2001. The sanction mitigation rate (cases that scored to state prison but received a non-state prison sanction) was 42.5% for FY1999-2000 and 45.6% for FY2000-2001 (Table 11).

  • For the offenders that received a mitigated prison sentence length, the average reduction in sentence was 24.7 months during FY1999-2000 and 26.3 months during FY2000-2001 (Table 11).

  • Departure, as defined here, is not a comment on the legality of the sentence. There are many reasons for departure which are recognized as legitimate under Florida Statute 921. In addition, other Statutes, such as F. S. 948.034, establish special conditions allowing for departures from recommended sentences. Database limitations do not allow us to isolate all these reasons for departure.

Table 1 Recommended Sanction Category by Sanction Imposed

Sanction Imposed Recommended Sanction Category
FY 1999-2000 FY 2000-2001
44.0 Points or Less More than 44.0 Points Total 44.0 Points or Less More than 44.0 Points Total
State Prison 4,343 12,193 16,536 3,856 11,101 14,957
6.2% 57.5% 18.0% 5.9% 54.4% 17.4%
Community Control 5,751 2,212 7,963 5,140 2,019 7,159
8.2% 10.4% 8.7% 7.9% 9.9% 8.3%
Probation 41,285 4,610 45,895 38,107 4,743 42,850
58.6% 21.7% 50.1% 58.3% 23.2% 49.9%
County Jail 18,525 2,075 20,600 17,947 2,479 20,426
26.3% 9.8% 22.5% 27.4% 12.1% 23.8%
Other 557 109 666 350 82 432
0.8% 0.5% 0.7% 0.5% 0.4% 0.5%
Total 70,461 21,199 91,660 65,400 20,424 85,824
100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

 

Sanction Imposed for offenders scoring in the state prison sanction category.