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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 Offense to Sentence Date Lag Time Comparison

FACT: Scoresheets that have been received by the Department of Corrections for offenders sentenced under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code are not representative of the true impact of sentencing events under the Code.

FINDINGS:

  • In order to determine the appropriateness of measuring the impact of the Code, baseline data, under the previous sentencing policy, had to be established for comparison purposes. The baseline was identified as sentencing events under the sentencing guidelines structure with sentence dates in FY 1997-98. The sentence date constraint, by design, excludes any Code scoresheets from being included in the data file.

  • There were 119,001 scoresheets submitted to the Department of Corrections with sentence dates in FY1997-98. Of these, over ninety-two percent (92.1%) of the scoresheets were sentenced under the 1995 sentencing structure, with the remaining sentenced under the 1994 sentencing structure (Table 1). This data will be used in comparison with the Code data to illustrate the difficulty in trying to determine an impact of the new sentencing policy.

  • Lag Time - The average length of time that passes from the date an offender commits a crime to the date the offender is sentenced for that crime is 9.6 months. As defined by the word "average", half of the lag times that occur are less than 9.6 months and half are greater than 9.6 months (Table 2).

  • More serious and violent crimes typically have much longer lag time than the less serious property or drug crimes. A data file that is constrained by the date of offense must allow for enough time for the serious and violent crimes to be process and convicted in order to represent a true distribution of sentencing events. The Florida Criminal Punishment Code went into effect for offenses committed on or after October 1, 1998. As of August 31, 1999, the Department of Corrections had received over 36,000 Code scoresheets. However, because of the long lag time for serious offenses, the information to date is skewed more heavily by the less serious offenses.

  • The Code scoresheets that have currently been received by the department look, in aggregate, very different from the sentencing guidelines scoresheets from FY 1997-98. For example, the average lag time for FY 1997-98 sentencing events is 9.6 months. Of the scoresheets received to date under the Code, the average lag time is 3.3 months. This suggests that the Code data have a larger proportion of less serious crimes than the FY1997-98 data (Table 2). When the lag times are examined by offense severity level and type of primary offense, the "less serious offenses" theory becomes more pronounced. The average lag time for level 10 offenses (most serious) under the Code is 5 months. In FY1997-98, the average lag time for level 10 offenses was 16.2 months. Also, for murder/manslaughter, the average lag time from offense to sentence is 5.5 months under the Code and 16.7 months in FY1997-98 (Table 3).

  • An examination of the distribution of type of offenses represented is also revealing. In FY1997-98, the more violent, serious offenses represented almost twenty percent (18.9%) of the scoresheets, while under the Code, less than fourteen percent (13.9%) were the more violent, serious offenses (Table 4). At a more detailed level, felony traffic and driving offenses made up less than three percent (2.9%) of all offenses in FY1997-98, while over seven percent (7.5%) of the Code scoresheets were for felony traffic offenses (Table 5).

Table 1
Sentencing Guidelines
Scoresheets Received by Month of Sentence
Fiscal Year 1997-98

Month of Sentence 1994 Sentencing
Guidelines Scoresheet
1995 Sentencing
Guidelines Scoresheet
Total
July 1997 1,033 10.4% 8,875 89.6% 9,908 100.0%
August 1997 1,004 10.5% 8,528 89.5% 9,532 100.0%
September 1997 928 8.9% 9,501 91.1% 10,429 100.0%
October 1997 1,009 9.0% 10,194 91.0% 11,203 100.0%
November 1997 720 8.3% 7,960 91.7% 8,680 100.0%
December 1997 667 7.9% 7,725 92.1% 8,392 100.0%
January 1998 781 7.6% 9,437 92.4% 10,218 100.0%
February 1998 671 7.1% 8,743 92.9% 9,414 100.0%
March 1998 716 6.8% 9,868 93.2% 10,584 100.0%
April 1998 692 6.7% 9,687 93.3% 10,379 100.0%
May 1998 585 5.9% 9,295 94.1% 9,880 100.0%
June 1998 563 5.4% 9,819 94.6% 10,382 100.0%
Total 9,369 7.9% 109,632 92.1% 119,001 100.0%

Chart showing sentencing guidelines - Scoresheets received.  Many more in 1995 vs. 1994.

 
Table 2
Comparison of Average Time From Offense Date to Sentence Date
By Offense Severity Level of Primary Offense
In Months
 

Offense
Severity
Level
Sentencing Guidelines
FY 97-98
Sentence Dates
Criminal
Punishment
Code
1 11.3 3.2
2 10.9 3.4
3 7.8 2.9
4 9.2 3.2
5 8.9 3.4
6 9.7 3.8
7 12.2 4.2
8 11.9 4.8
9 13.0 5.2
10 16.2 5.0
Overall Average 9.6 3.3

 
Table 3
Comparison of Average "Lag" Time From Offense Date to Sentence Date
By Primary Offense In Months
 

Primary Offense Sentencing Guidelines
FY 97-98
Sentence Dates
Criminal
Punishment
Code
Murder/Manslaughter 16.7 5.5
Sexual/Lewd Behavior 15.3 4.8
Robbery 10.5 4.3
Violent, Other 9.7 3.6
Burglary 9.9 3.7
Property Theft/Fraud/Damage 11.7 3.5
Drugs 8.1 3.0
Weapons 9.0 3.4
Other 8.3 3.3
     
Overall Average 9.6 3.3

 
Table 4
Distribution of Offense
Sentencing Guidelines vs. Criminal Punishment Code
 

Primary Offense Sentencing
Guidelines
FY 97-98
Sentence Dates
Criminal
Punishment
Code
Murder/Manslaughter 843 46
0.7% 0.1%
Sexual/Lewd Behavior 2,411 247
2.0% 0.7%
Robbery 3,676 682
3.1% 1.9%
Violent, Other 15,639 4,114
13.1% 11.2%
Burglary 12,888 3,225
10.8% 8.8%
Property Theft/Fraud/Damage 26,857 6,975
22.6% 18.9%
Drugs 44,986 16,099
37.8% 43.7%
Weapons 4,086 1,050
3.4% 2.9%
Other 7,615 4,380
6.4% 11.9%
     
Total 119,001 36,818
100.0% 100.0%

 
Table 5
Distribution of Offense
Sentencing Guidelines vs. Criminal Punishment Code
 

Primary Offense Sentencing Guidelines
FY 97-98
Sentence Dates
Criminal
Punishment
Code
Frequency Percent Frequency Percent
MURDER, MANSLAUGHTER 843 0.7% 46 0.1%
1st Degree Murder 167 0.1% 11 0.0%
2nd Degree Murder 337 0.3% 13 0.0%
3rd Degree Murder 22 0.0% 2 0.0%
Homicide, Other 5 0.0% 0 0.0%
Manslaughter 197 0.2% 12 0.0%
DUI Manslaughter 115 0.1% 8 0.0%
SEXUAL OFFENSES 2,411 2.0% 247 0.7%
Capital Sexual Battery 148 0.1% 9 0.0%
Life Sexual Battery 102 0.1% 7 0.0%
1st Degree Sexual Battery 172 0.1% 6 0.0%
2nd Degree Sexual Battery 304 0.3% 36 0.1%
Sexual Assault, Other 5 0.0% 1 0.0%
Lewd/Lascivious Behavior 1,680 1.4% 188 0.5%
ROBBERY 3,676 3.1% 682 1.9%
Robbery with Weapon 1,482 1.2% 206 0.6%
Robbery without Weapon 2,125 1.8% 465 1.3%
Home Invasion, Robbery 69 0.1% 11 0.0%
VIOLENT PERSONAL OFFENSES 15,639 13.1% 4,114 11.2%
Home Invasion, Other 2 0.0% 0 0.0%
Carjacking 147 0.1% 37 0.1%
Aggravated Assault 3,291 2.8% 728 2.0%
Aggravated Battery 3,114 2.6% 484 1.3%
Assault/Battery on L.E.O. 2,288 1.9% 653 1.8%
Assault/Battery, Other 473 0.4% 179 0.5%
Aggravated Stalking 389 0.3% 61 0.2%
Resisting Arrest with Violence 2,823 2.4% 938 2.5%
Kidnapping 587 0.5% 124 0.3%
Arson 326 0.3% 71 0.2%
Abuse of Children 900 0.8% 306 0.8%
Leaving Accident, Injury/Death 551 0.5% 140 0.4%
DUI, Injury 227 0.2% 20 0.1%
Violent, Other 521 0.4% 373 1.0%
BURGLARY 12,888 10.8% 3,225 8.8%
Burglary, Structure 7,133 6.0% 1,978 5.4%
Burglary, Dwelling 4,145 3.5% 861 2.3%
Burglary, Armed 452 0.4% 70 0.2%
Burglary with Assault 503 0.4% 73 0.2%
Burglary/Trespass, Other 655 0.6% 243 0.7%
THEFT, FORGERY, FRAUD 26,857 22.6% 6,975 18.9%
Grand Theft, Other 9,468 8.0% 2,618 7.1%
Grand Theft, Automobile 4,196 3.5% 1,349 3.7%
Stolen Property 3,479 2.9% 739 2.0%
Forgery/Counterfeiting 3,558 3.0% 1,060 2.9%
Worthless Checks 2,067 1.7% 104 0.3%
Fraudulent Practices 2,688 2.3% 571 1.6%
Theft/Property Damage, Other 1,401 1.2% 534 1.5%
DRUGS 44,986 37.8% 16,099 43.7%
Drugs, Manufacture/Sale/Purchase 17,794 15.0% 5,766 15.7%
Drugs, Trafficking 1,250 1.1% 144 0.4%
Drugs, Possession/Other 25,942 21.8% 10,189 27.7%
WEAPONS 4,086 3.4% 1,050 2.9%
Weapons, Discharging 622 0.5% 161 0.4%
Weapons, Possession 3,456 2.9% 879 2.4%
Weapons, Other 8 0.0% 10 0.0%
OTHER OFFENSES 7,615 6.4% 4,380 11.9%
Escape 1,462 1.2% 736 2.0%
DUI, No Injury 794 0.7% 222 0.6%
Traffic, Other 3,484 2.9% 2,744 7.5%
Racketeering 65 0.1% 0 0.0%
Pollution/Hazardous Materials 101 0.1% 15 0.0%
Other 1,709 1.4% 663 1.8%
TOTAL 119,001 100.0% 36,818 100.0%