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Performance Audit of the Use of Non-Prison Sanctions Under Florida's Sentencing Guidelines in the Second Judicial Circuit , Report No. 12384, July 1994

  • Our review of case files of the 2,795 felons convicted in the Second Judicial Circuit during fiscal year 1991-92 disclosed that judges imposed non-prison sanctions for 652 (68%) felons and prison for 296 (32%) felons. Within the circuit the percentage of offenders sentenced to non-prison sanctions ranged from 57% in Jefferson County to 80% in Leon County. Of the four major types of non-prison sanctions (fines, probation, community control, and jail) probation was used most frequently; approximately 75% of the felons who received non-prison sanctions were placed on probation. The frequency of the use of specific non-prison sanctions varied among the six counties.
  • Most sentencing decisions are consistent with the sentencing guidelines. However, of the 187 felons whose scores corresponded to a recommended sentence of non-prison sanction, 36 (19%) were sentenced to prison. Conversely, of the 212 felons whose score indicated a recommended sentence of prison, 55 (26%) received a non-prison sanction. Therefore, we concluded that other factors not documented on the scoresheets also influence sentencing decisions.
  • Sentencing guidelines scoresheets are the primary source of data used by the Sentencing Guidelines Commission and the Office of the State Courts Administrator to conduct research on alternatives to prison. However, the Commission and the Office have not received scoresheets for approximately 40% of the 948 felons in our sample. We could not find evidence of scoresheets being completed for 8% of the felons sentenced to prison and 55% of the felons who received non-prison sanctions.

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