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Introduction

Our mission is to provide transparency into the criminal justice system through the application of technology in order to create a system that promotes equity and justice for all people, regardless of race, age, gender, or socioeconomic standing.

Those engaged in the criminal justice system often lack visibility into what their peers or even their own agencies are doing. Without central access to the data that can reveal biases and the impacts of decisions on a wide scale, it’s hard to truly understand how individual decisions might contribute to disproportionality in the system. Our goal is to provide more timely data compilation and visualization. Immediate insight drives more immediate understanding and action.

Use Cases

I want to know if a specific race is disproportionately convicted and if that's gotten worse or better over time”

Conviction Disproportionality

I have questions about a specific judge and would like to understand their typical sentencing compared to other judges"

Sentencing Disproportionality: County & Judge

I want to know if a specific race is disproportionally sentenced and if that’s gotten worse or better over time”

Sentencing Disproportionality: Deep Dive

I want to look up all cases in Washington state where the offender was given more than 20 years and was under 18 years old."

Case Drill Down/Export

Data Sources

Washington State Caseload Forecast Council (CFC) Data (1999-2020)
Washington State Census population data (2000-2020)

* Outlier cases have been filtered out of sentencing views (550 cases with sentences > 9998 months)
* Enhancements currently only include 1) sexual motivation and 2) Child under 16. (Note – this is an important call out as firearm enhancements are not listed here)
* Inmate cost data is based on a WA 2019 report of daily and yearly costs (pdf link)
* Protem judges may not be reflected in data

Conviction Disproportionality

The population of a particular demographic group within the criminal justice system should closely mirror the representation of that same group in the general population. By overlaying Caseload Forecast Council data with Washington State census data, the dashboard displays any disproportionality that may exist.

To use this dashboard, select race, year, county(ies) , and/or gender to see the percentage of that group in the conviction data compared to the census/population data.

  • If % of Convictions is higher than % of Population the disproportionality ratio will be above 1.
  • If % of Convictions is lower than % of Population the disproportionality ratio will be below 1.
  • If % of Convictions is equal to % of Population the disproportionality ratio will equal 1.

If you select all counties, the tool will automatically display the 5 counties that have the highest population of the selected race to display in the Ratio Trend view.

A disproportionality ratio of 1 is represented by the blue dashed line on the Ratio Trend view.

Washington State Census data does not identify Latinx as a category, so Latinx data is included in “other.”

Gender options are binary as those are the only categories collected in the dataset.

Go to the Convinction Disproportionality dashboard

Conviction Disproportionality

Sentencing Disproportionality

In Washington State, felony sentencing is governed by the Sentence Reform Act of 1981 (SRA) sentencing grid. The grid accounts for the seriousness of an offense and different levels of criminal history, providing the judge with a sentencing length range. Sentencing disparity is a circumstance where similar cases are not treated similarly or different cases are not treated differently.

We have converted the sentencing data into an average sentence range percentage. If the sentencing grid requires a sentencing range of 9 to 12 months for a specific scenario:

  • a sentence of 9 months would equate to 0% in the sentence range percentage
  • a sentence of 12 months would equate to 100%
  • a 10.5 month sentence would equate to 50%

By County and Judge

To use this dashboard, select county, judge, race, gender, offense, and/or date range to see the average sentencing ranges. If you would like to explore the actual numbers of cases, you can scroll across the Cases & Average Sentence Range Percentage field.

Average sentence range percentages that are 50% or higher are highlighted in red.

Instances where a judge has sentences 20 or fewer cases are highlighted in red.

Go to the Sentencing Disproportionality: County and Judge dashboard

Sentencing Disproportionality: By County and Judge

Deep Dive

This dashboard allows you to review the sentence range percentage information by race, age groups, seriousness level of the crime, and offender score. To use this dashboard, select county, judge, gender, offense, and/or date range.

Average sentence range percentages that are 50% or higher are highlighted in red.

Instances where a judge has sentences 20 or fewer cases are highlighted in red.

Go to the Sentencing Disproportionality: Deep Dive dashboard

Sentencing Disproportionality: Deep Dive

Case Drill Down/Export

This dashboard allows for further sorting by offense date, verdict type, age range, sentence length, seriousness level, and offender score. It also allows you to see the individual cause numbers, sentence length, offense descriptions, and more.

Go to the Case Drill Down/Export dashboard

Case Drill Down/Export

Glossary

Data Definitions

Enhancements
These allow and sometimes require a judge to increase a sentence beyond the normal range.

Exceptions
These allow a court to impose a sentence outside the standard sentence range for an offense if it finds, considering the purpose of RCW9.94A.535, that there are substantial and compelling reasons justifying an exceptional sentence.

Seriousness
This level is determined by the offense of conviction per RCW9.94A.520.

Offender Score
This number is calculated based on RCW 9.94A.525.

Data metrics

Convictions
Count of cases (distinct County Cause Numbers)

Enhancement
If offender has a Sexual Motivation enhancement OR Child Under 16 enhancement, value will show as "1"

Disproportionality ratio
Extent to which a race is disproportionately represented in convictions compared to population Sentence Length: Total Months imposed on an individual for a given case

Minimum Sentence
Based on Offender Score, the lowest number of months offender should receive based on sentencing guidelines

Maximum Sentence
Based on Offender Score, the highest number of months offender should receive based on sentencing guidelines

Sentence Range %
Score from 0-100 to the sentence received based on the range. 0 = minimum of the range or lower, 100 = top of the range or greater, 50 = middle of the range