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

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Sentencing Guidelines 1995-96 Annual Report Sentence Dates in Fiscal Year 1995-96

Executive Summary

sample pie chartSince January 1, 1994, the Florida Department of Corrections has collected over 250,000 scoresheets on felony offenders sentenced in Florida courts under the state's sentencing guidelines. This first annual report examines the 96,131 scoresheets for fiscal year 1995-96 (July 1, 1995 through June 30, 1996) sentence dates, under either the 1994 or 1995 guidelines structure. This report also includes an examination of 221,351 1994 and 1995 offender scoresheets to determine if racial disparity exists in sentencing. Because the 1995 sentencing structure is effective only for offenses committed on or after October 1, 1995, most scoresheets reflect the 1994 policy.

In 1993, the Florida legislature created a new sentencing structure, with seven goals intended to improve the sentencing behavior of Florida's courts. The main body of this report examines the extent to which the guidelines have had the desired and expected effects in each of these goal areas by analyzing scoresheets with sentence dates in FY 1995-96. These stated goals, as listed in Chapter 921 of the Florida Statutes are:

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  • Prison beds are to be utilized for the more serious offenders and repeat offenders.
  • Sentencing is to be neutral with respect to race.
  • The penalty imposed is commensurate with the severity of the primary offense.
  • The severity of the sentence increases with the length and nature of the offender's prior record.
  • The sentence imposed represents the actual time to be served.
  • Departures from the recommended sentence are to be articulated in writing and justified.
  • The primary purpose of sentencing is to punish the offender.

An introductory section provides basic information on the different sentencing structures developed and utilized in Florida from 1983 - present and the department's responsibilities in regards to the sentencing guidelines. The tables and charts in this section describe the scoresheets with sentence dates in FY 1995-96 that are examined throughout this report. More detailed information relates the "practice" of sentencing to the "policy" intended to be implemented through the guidelines, severity levels, and lengths of sentences (Part III: Sentencing Guidelines Practice).