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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 the comparison between the 1994 Sentencing Guidelines and the Criminal Punishment code undertaken in this report, baseline data, under the previous sentencing policy, had to be established for comparison purposes. The baseline was identified as offenses committed between October 1, 1994 and September 30, 1995 with sentence dates in FY 1995-1996. The sentence date constraint, by design, excludes any Code scoresheets from being included in the baseline data file.

  • There were 56,067 scoresheets submitted to the Department of Corrections with sentence dates in FY1995-1996 and offense dates between October 1, 1994 and September 30, 1995. This data will be used in comparison with the Code data to illustrate the 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 5.6 months. As defined by the word "average", half of the lag times that occur are less than 5.6 months and half are greater than 5.6 months (Table 1).

  • 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 processed 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 September 12, 2000, the Department of Corrections had received over 90,000 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 data included in the 1994 Sentencing Guidelines scoresheets with offense dates between October 1, 1994 and September 30, 1995 and sentence dates in FY1995-1996 were selected for the analysis because they look, in aggregate, similar to the Code scoresheets that have currently been received by the department. For example, the average lag time for FY1995-1996 sentencing events is 6.6 months. Of the scoresheets received to date under the Code, the average lag time is 5.6 months (Table 1). When the lag times are examined by offense severity level and type of primary offense, the average lag time for level 10 offenses (most serious) under the Code is 5.4 months. In FY1995-1996, the average lag time for level 10 offenses was 7.2 months. Also, for murder/manslaughter, the average lag time from offense to sentence is 9.4 months under the Code and 9.8 months in FY1995-1996 (Table 2).

  • An examination of the distribution of type of offenses represented is also revealing. In FY1995-1996, the more violent, serious offenses represented twenty-four percent (24.0%) of the scoresheets, while under the Code, less than eighteen percent (17.8%) were the more violent, serious offenses (Table 3). At a more detailed level, felony traffic and driving offenses had no impact on the offense distribution in FY1995-1996, while over seven percent (7.2%) of the Code scoresheets were for felony traffic offenses (Table 4).

Table 1 Comparison of Average Time from Offense Date to Sentence Date by Offense Severity Level of Primary Offense, in Months

Offense Severity Level 1994 Sentencing Guidelines, FY 95-96 Sentence Dates Criminal Punishment Code, FY 99-00 Sentence Dates
1 7.2 5.4
2 7.1 5.7
3 5.9 4.9
4 6.1 5.2
5 6.6 5.8
6 6.7 6.1
7 7.1 6.9
8 7.9 7.6
9 8.3 8.6
10 9.8 9.3
Overall Average 6.6 5.6

Table 2 Comparison of Average "Lag" Time from Offense Date to Sentence Date by Primary Offense, in Months

Primary Offense 1994 Sentencing Guidelines, FY 95-96 Sentence Dates Criminal Punishment Code, FY 99-00 Sentence Dates
Murder/Manslaughter 9.8 9.4
Sexual/Lewd Behavior 8.4 8.2
Robbery 7.2 6.9
Violent, Other 6.7 5.9
Burglary 6.3 5.7
Property Theft/Fraud/Damage 7.2 5.9
Drugs 6.1 5.1
Weapons 6.5 5.9
Other 6.7 5.2
Overall Average 7.2 6.5

Distribution Offense Group

Table 3 Distribution of Offense 1994 Sentencing Guidelines vs. Criminal Punishment Code

Primary Offense 1994 Sentencing Guidelines, FY 95-96 Sentence Dates Criminal Punishment Code, FY 99-00 Sentence Dates
Murder/Manslaughter 540 282
1.0% 0.3%
Sexual Offenses 1,292 1,276
2.3% 1.4%
Robbery 2,158 2,027
3.8% 2.2%
Violent Personal Offenses 8,783 11,823
15.7% 13.1%
Burglary 7,264 8,457
13.0% 9.4%
Theft/Forgery/Fraud 12,264 18,451
21.9% 20.4%
Drugs 19,646 34,956
35.0% 38.7%
Weapons 2,242 2,296
4.0% 2.5%
Other 1,878 10,818
3.3% 12.0%
Total 56,067 90,386
100.0% 100.0%

Table 4 Distribution of Offense 1994 Sentencing Guidelines vs. Criminal Punishment Code

Primary Offense 1994 Sentencing Guidelines, FY 95-96 Sentence Dates Criminal Punishment Code
Murder/Manslaughter 540 1.0% 282 0.3%
1st Degree Murder 118 0.2% 60 0.1%
2nd Degree Murder 206 0.4% 99 0.1%
3rd Degree Murder 16 0.0% 7 0.0%
Homicide, Other 5 0.0% 3 0.0%
Manslaughter 130 0.2% 69 0.1%
DUI Manslaughter 65 0.1% 44 0.0%
Sexual Offenses 1,292 2.3% 1,276 1.4%
Capital Sexual Battery 97 0.2% 56 0.1%
Life Sexual Battery 69 0.1% 28 0.0%
1st Degree Sexual Battery 110 0.2% 55 0.1%
2nd Degree Sexual Battery 182 0.3% 162 0.2%
Sexual Assault, Other 0 0.0% 7 0.0%
Lewd/Lascivious Behavior 834 1.5% 968 1.1%
Robbery 2,158 3.8% 2,027 2.2%
Robbery with Weapon 988 1.8% 795 0.9%
Robbery without Weapon 1,148 2.0% 1,201 1.3%
Home Invasion, Robbery 22 0.0% 31 0.0%
Violent Personal Offenses 8,783 15.7% 11,823 13.1%
Home Invasion, Other 2 0.0% 1 0.0%
Carjacking 79 0.1% 110 0.1%
Aggravated Assault 1,903 3.4% 2,009 2.2%
Aggravated Battery 2,282 4.1% 1,618 1.8%
Assault/Battery on L.E.O. 1,302 2.3% 1,631 1.8%
Assault/Battery, Other 152 0.3% 541 0.6%
Aggravated Stalking 181 0.3% 266 0.3%
Resisting Arrest with Violence 1,595 2.8% 2,266 2.5%
Kidnapping 325 0.6% 438 0.5%
Arson 219 0.4% 186 0.2%
Abuse of Children 159 0.3% 1,062 1.2%
Leaving Accident, Injury/Death 333 0.6% 410 0.5%
DUI, Injury 129 0.2% 132 0.1%
Violent, Other 122 0.2% 1,153 1.3%
Burglary 7,264 13.0% 8,457 9.4%
Burglary, Structure 3,620 6.5% 4,861 5.4%
Burglary, Dwelling 2,670 4.8% 2,457 2.7%
Burglary, Armed 366 0.7% 244 0.3%
Burglary with Assault 327 0.6% 272 0.3%
Burglary/Trespass, Other 281 0.5% 623 0.7%
Theft/Forgery/Fraud 12,264 21.9% 18,434 20.4%
Grand Theft, Other 4,359 7.8% 6,750 7.5%
Grand Theft, Automobile 1,928 3.4% 3,006 3.3%
Stolen Property 1,718 3.1% 2,268 2.5%
Forgery/Counterfeiting 1,726 3.1% 2,796 3.1%
Worthless Checks 946 1.7% 609 0.7%
Fraudulent Practices 1,070 1.9% 1,736 1.9%
Theft/Property Damage, Other 517 0.9% 1,269 1.4%
Drugs 19,646 35.0% 34,956 38.7%
Drugs, Manufacture/Sale/Purchase 8,563 15.3% 12,573 13.9%
Drugs, Trafficking 708 1.3% 629 0.7%
Drugs, Possession/Other 10,375 18.5% 21,754 24.1%
Weapons 2,242 4.0% 2,296 2.5%
Weapons, Discharging 371 0.7% 397 0.4%
Weapons, Possession 1,860 3.3% 1,871 2.1%
Weapons, Other 11 0.0% 28 0.0%
Other 1,878 3.3% 10,835 12.0%
Escape 730 1.3% 1,912 2.1%
DUI, No Injury 374 0.7% 638 0.7%
Traffic, Other 11 0.0% 6,515 7.2%
Racketeering 32 0.1% 13 0.0%
Pollution/Hazardous Materials 56 0.1% 87 0.1%
Other 675 1.2% 1,670 1.8%
Total 56,067 100.0% 90,386 100.0%