Skip navigation.
Home | About Us | Contact Us
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, 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 this note for reasons why errors are not changed). See the Appendix in this report for the Severity Ranking Chart.


  • The proportion of those sentenced to state prison increased steadily from 3.1% at sentencing guidelines severity level 1, the offense level representing the least severe offenses, to 91.2% 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 (7.2%) to sentencing guidelines level 7 (18.0%). Probation sanctions represented a decreasing proportion of cases as sentencing guidelines level moves from level 2 to level 10 (Table 1).
  • Violent offenders represent the largest proportion of offenders sentenced to prison. The majority of property offenders are sentenced to probation (55.2%) (Table 2).
  • The structure of the guidelines causes wide variation in average points across the guidelines severity level, ranging from 11.0 for level 1 to 226.0 for level 10 (Table 3).
  • Violent offenders average 65.2 points, compared to the overall average of 38.9 (Table 4).
  • The highest average sentence points were found in the murder/manslaughter, sexual/lewd assault, and robbery offense categories, with points also quite high for drug trafficking (Table 4).
  • 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 72% of level 10 offenders received a sentence of more than 10 years in state prison (Table 5).

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.


  • 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 sentenced to state prison had, on average, a larger percentage of points associated with the nature and number of their additional and prior offenses, as well as other scoring components, compared to those receiving less severe sanctions (Table 6).
  • Overall, the primary offense contributed about 71% of total points. This varied from nearly 78% for those with total points are in the non-prison category to 57% 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 -- especially victim injury -- made greater contributions (Table 7).
  • Over half of all scoresheets included points from additional offenses. About 70% had points related to prior record of the offender. Over 21% gained points from community sanction violations, and nearly 10% from victim injury. Of the victim injury points, most came from the slight or moderate categories (Table 8).
  • Additional offenses made greater contributions to total points when the primary offense was burglary. Prior record contributions to total points were greatest for primary offenses of burglary, property crimes, and drug offenses. Other components contributed greater proportions of the total points for murder/manslaughter and sexual/lewd assault cases (Table 9).
  • Drug and property crimes were most likely to fall into the lower sentencing guidelines severity levels (1-4), while violent crimes tended to fall into levels of 5 or greater (Table 10).
  • Murder/manslaughter and sexual/lewd assault offenses were generally at sentencing guidelines severity levels of 8 or higher, robbery crimes tended to be at levels 5-7, while crimes such as drug possession, property crimes were generally at levels 1-4 (Table 11).
  • Similarly, murder/manslaughter, robbery, drug trafficking, and sexual/lewd assault cases were generally sentenced to state prison, while those convicted of burglary, property, and other drug crimes tended to be sentenced to probation (Table 12).
  • As expected, offense type was strongly related to prison sentence length, with those sentenced for second degree murder, homicide, attempted capital sexual battery, life sexual battery, and third degree murder receiving the longest sentences. The shortest state prison sentences were for property crimes and drug possession (Table 13).
  • The average community control sentence is 17.6 months, while probation sentences average nearly 29 months. County jail/time served sentences average 6 months. The average lengths of sentence for all of the non-state prison sanctions are greatest for violent offenses (Table 15).
  • Most offenders have no additional offenses, or only misdemeanors (table 17).

List of Tables and Figures for Part II, Section 3

Table 1 - Sanction Imposed by Sentencing Guidelines Level
Table 2 - Sanction Imposed by Offense Group
Figure 1 - Offense Distribution by Sanction Imposed
Table 3 - Average Total Sentence Points by Sentencing Guidelines Level
Table 4- Average Total Sentence Points by Offense Group and Offense Type
Table 5 - State Prison Sentence Length by Sentencing Guidelines Level
Table 6 - Source of Sentence Points by Sanction Imposed
Table 7 - Source of Sentence Points by Recommended Sanction Category
Figure 2 - Source of Points for Offenders Scoring in Recommended State Prison Sanction Category
Table 8 - Average Sentence Points for Offenders Receiving Points From Guidelines Component
Table 9 - Source of Points by Offense Type
Figure 3 - Source of Total Points Within Offense Groups
Table 10 - Sentencing Guidelines Level by Offense Group
Table 11 - Sentencing Guidelines Level by Offense Type
Table 12 - Sanction Imposed by Offense Type
Table 13 - Prison Sentence Length by Offense Type
Table 14 - Length of Prison Sentence by Offense Group
Table 15 - Average Community Sentence Length in Months by Offense Type
Table 16 - Average Community Sentence Imposed in Months
Table 17 - Number of Additional Offenses
Section 4: Sentence and Prior Record | Part II Menu