What kind of data does the Sentencing Commission provide?
The District of Columbia Sentencing Commission (the Commission) receives sentencing data from primary two sources: the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (DCSC) and the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA). The Commission compiles this data and uses it to monitor and report on the sentences imposed in DCSC felony cases and to assess compliance with the Sentencing Guidelines. After review and analysis, the Commission regularly publishes sentencing data and reports on its website.
While sentencing related data is available for a number of years dating back to the late 1990s, the data from 2010 onward is the only data that the Commission has verified and determined to be complete. Data from years prior to 2010 are not provided by the Commission.
Where can I find published Sentencing Commission data?
The Commission has a portion of its website devoted to sentencing data (https://scdc.dc.gov/page/sentencing-data). This page is updated with the most up-to-date data available. Additionally, the Commission’s reports and studies are available on the publications page (https://scdc.dc.gov/page/publications-scdc). This page includes links to each year’s Annual Report.
What unpublished data can be requested from the Sentencing Commission?
Organizations or individuals may request specific data from the Commission. Data shared by the Commission is available in two formats: felony data sets void of identifying information about offenders or ex-offenders and aggregate data. The Commission does not provide sentencing information for any individual case, information that would allow for offenders or ex-offenders to be identified, or sentencing information by judge. Case specific information may be obtained from the DCSC website (www.dccourts.gov).
The Commission’s Data Dictionary, which is a specific list of data that the Commission shares along with a definition of the data elements, is available at https://scdc.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/scdc/publication/attachments/Final%20Codebook_External_rev20170912.pdf.
The Commission is only able to share data consistent with its Data Sharing Policy (https://scdc.dc.gov/node/1109302) and only to the extent authorized by the source agency. If the data requested cannot be shared by the Commission, it is recommended that the requestor contact the source agency directly to make the data request.
How do I request data from the Sentencing Commission?
Data not already available can be requested by submitting a data request form to the Commission (https://scdc.dc.gov/node/1109316).
Where can I find the Sentencing Commission’s Data Sharing Policy?
The Commission Data Sharing Policy is available at (https://scdc.dc.gov/node/1109302).
What is contained in the Sentencing Commission’s Data Dictionary?
The Commission’s Data Dictionary contains sentencing related variables that are provided to the Commission by the DC Superior Court (“the Court”), the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (“CSOSA”), and other criminal justice institutions.
The data dictionary is comprised of two sections. The first section presents the Data Dictionary, which includes definitions for all publically shared variables available from the Sentencing Commission. Variables in this section are the most complete and accurate variables the Commission collects.
The second section contains the Appendices. Appendix A provides clarification regarding the possible values, purpose, or application of certain variables. If a variable is discussed in Appendix A, it will be noted as such at the end of the variable description in the Data Dictionary. Appendix B contains the Guidelines Master Grid and Appendix C contains the Guidelines Drug Grid. Both Grids show the Guidelines-recommended sentence types and sentence lengths based on the severity of the offense of conviction and the offender’s Criminal History score.
Does the Data Sharing Policy cover FOIA requests?
No, Freedom of Information Act requests should be submitted to the Commission’s FOIA Officer.
District of Columbia Sentencing Commission FOIA Officer
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street NW, Suite 430 South
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 727-7934
Fax: (202) 727-7929