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Variance in Criminal History Scores and Sentencing Decisions

This Issue paper examines how sentences imposed by Superior Court judges vary depending on the total CH score of sentenced defendants. The sentencing data, provided by the D.C. Superior Court, encompasses all non-drug adult felony sentences that were imposed between 2013 and 2022 in the District of Columbia. The first section of this paper provides a high-level overview of the data. This includes an analysis of the average and median numeric CH score within each CH column on the Guidelines Grids. It also contains a detailed breakdown of sentence types based on CH score and an exploration of how the imposed sentences differ within each offense severity group (OSG) across CH columns. The latter section of this paper delves deeper into a specific subset of these cases, analyzing the sentence variations within each CH column.