RD251 - Annual Report of the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission is required by § 17.1-803 of the Code of Virginia to report annually to the General Assembly, the Governor and the Chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. To fulfill its statutory obligation, the Commission respectfully submits this report the eleventh in the series. As in previous years, the report provides detailed analysis of judicial compliance with the discretionary sentencing guidelines. Additionally, the report presents the findings of the Commission with regard to the implementation of and judicial reference to a new sentencing guidelines system for offenders found in violation of the conditions of their probation or post-release supervision who have not been convicted of a new crime. This report also includes an analysis of the continued impact of the truth-in-sentencing system in Virginia, documenting both the successes of Virginia's guidelines and the ongoing work of the Commission. This section of the report addresses the Commission's continued work on the development and implementation of a risk assessment instrument for this specific offender population. During the past calendar year, the Criminal Sentencing Commission has provided significant research support to the Sex Offender Task Force of the Virginia State Crime Commission. The research work compiled by the Criminal Sentencing Commission for the Task Force is presented in a separate chapter contained herein. Finally, the report includes the Commission's approved recommendations for revisions to the felony sentencing guidelines system and, where applicable, suggested revisions to the Code of Virginia.

The report is organized into five chapters. The remainder of the Introduction chapter provides a general profile of the Commonwealth and an overview of its various activities and projects during 2005.The Guidelines Compliance chapter provides the results of a comprehensive analysis of compliance, with the sentencing guidelines during fiscal year (FY) 2005, as well as other related sentencing trend data with special attention paid to the use of the probation violation sentencing guidelines. A comprehensive review of the continued impact of the truth-in-sentencing guidelines system is presented in the chapter that follows. The subsequent chapter provides some results from anew recidivism study conducted by the Sentencing Commission at the behest of the Sex Offender Task Force of the State Crime Commission. The report's final chapter presents the Commission's recommendations for 2005.