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

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Part II Impact

SECTION 5. Length of Time Served

GOAL: The sentence imposed by the sentencing judge reflects the length of actual time to be served, shortened only by the application of incentive and meritorious gain-time. F.S. 921.001(4)(a)5.

FACT: Although the prison sentence lengths imposed by courts have not changed dramatically from FY 1992-93 to FY 1996-97, the repeal of basic gain-time and elimination of the early prison release program has significantly increased actual time served in prison.

FINDINGS:

  • The average percentage of sentence served has increased from less than 31% in 1990 to 71.2% in 1997 for all released offenders. Similar increases are seen for violent offenders (Figure 1).

  • Using estimates of the number of years that will be served under the pre-1994 and the 1994-95 guidelines policies, sentences for murder, manslaughter and sexual battery will increase dramatically. For example, the average number of years served for second degree murder will rise by 4.0 years, and that for first degree sexual battery will increase by 5.8 years (Table 1).

Figure 1
 
Average Percentage of Time Served Over Seven Years
 
Average Percentage of Time Served rose from 31.0% in 1990 to 70.1% in 1997.  Violent offenders rose from 37.2% to 71.2%.

Table 1
             
Comparison of State Prison Sentence Length to Estimated Number of
Years Served for Selected Offenses
Pre-1994 vs. 1994-95 Sentencing Guidelines Policy
             
  Avg. Sentence Length in Years Est. # of Years Served
Primary Offense FY 1992-93 Pre-1994 Guidelines Policy FY 1996-97 1994-95 Guidelines Policy Diff. FY 1992-93 Pre-1994 Guidelines Policy* FY 1996-97 1994-95 Guidelines Policy** Diff.
2nd Degree Murder 18.4 18.1 -0.34 12.5 16.5 +4.0
Manslaughter 8.6 6.9 -1.7 4.9 6.9 +2.0
1st Degree Sexual Battery 8.7 12.0 +3.3 5.1 10.8 +5.8
Lewd/Lascivious Behavior 8.1 4.4 -3.7 3.5 4.6 +1.1
Robbery with Weapon 9.1 7.5 -1.6 6.5 8.0 +1.5
Aggravated Battery 4.1 3.4 -0.7 2.7 3.8 +1.1
Burglary of Structure 3.6 2.2 -1.4 2.2 2.9 +0.7
Burglary of Dwelling 5.3 3.4 -1.9 3.1 3.9 +0.9
Grand Theft 3.2 1.8 -1.4 1.9 2.4 +0.5
Grand Theft, Automobile 3.0 1.5 -1.5 1.8 2.2 +0.4
Stolen Property 4.8 2.3 -2.5 2.6 2.8 +0.2
Weapons, Possession 3.9 3.0 -0.9 2.6 3.6 +1.0
Drugs, Man./Sale/Purch. 3.8 2.0 -1.8 2.3 2.6 +0.3
Drugs, Trafficking 6.2 5.2 -1.0 3.4 5.6 +2.3
Drugs, Possession/Other 2.6 1.0 -1.6 1.6 1.7 +0.1
             
*The Pre-1994 Guidelines Policy estimates of time served are based on FY 1992-93 sentences to state prison, assuming33% basic gain-time reduction and 25% incentive gain-time reduction of state prison sentences, and excluding offenses committed before 1/1/90. The estimates assume no early prison release through the control release program, used until December 1994 to reduce prison overcrowding.
 
**The 1994-95 Guidelines Policy estimates of time served are based on FY 1995-96 sentences to state prison, assuming75% of sentence served for offenses committed between 1/1/94 and 9/30/95 and 85% of sentence served for offenses committed on or after 10/1/95.