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DASHBOARDS

How to use the Equity Dashboard

AEJG built and maintains this Equity Dashboard for your use. To start, explore our data sources and glossary, or select a use case to learn more about the Equity Dashboard types.

Use Cases

Find out how different races are impacted by conviction disproportionality over time.

Conviction Proportionality

Understand a judge's typical sentencing record compared to other judges.

Sentencing Proportionality: County & Judge

Find out how different races are impacted by sentencing disproportionality over time.

Sentencing Proportionality: Deep Dive

Look up all cases in a state where the person was given more than 20 years and was under 18 years old.

Case Drill Down / Export

Data Sources

The Equity Dashboard currently pulls data from the Washington State Census and Washington State Caseload Forecast Council (CFC):

  • Washington State Census population data.

    Governments, nonprofit organizations, and businesses rely on the U.S. population information provided decennially through the Census. Over time, the Census Bureau has changed the way it classifies race and ethnicity. Historically, the changes have been influenced by social, political and economic factors including emancipation, immigration and civil rights. More information can be found at Census.gov.

  • Washington State Caseload Forecast Council (CFC) data.

    CFC data is available for the years 1999-2021. Outlier cases in the CFC data have been filtered out of AEJG’s sentencing views (550 cases with sentences > 9998 months).

    Washington’s legislature and administrative agencies use CFC data to inform their understanding of caseloads and budgets. The data, available at WA Caseload Forecast Council, includes all adult felony cases in Washington Superior Courts. The CFC obtains their data, including demographics, from the forms prepared at each felony sentencing hearing. This data is used despite data limitations that can impact proportionality analysis and mask disparities. For instance, Washington’s 39 counties do not all use the same sentencing forms and inconsistently identify race and ethnicity. The CFC data does not enable users to identify multiracial individuals. The CFC codes “Hispanic/Latinx” as a race instead of an ethnicity, does not include “Native Hawaiian” and “Other Pacific Islander” in its dataset, and otherwise lacks granular racial and nonbinary gender categories. The CFC does not include data on all sentence enhancements. According to information provided in September, 2022, the CFC supplements its data with that maintained by the Washington State Patrol and Administrative Office of the Courts. But if there are conflicts in these data sets, the CFC defaults to its own data.

    The following is an example provided to illustrate the role that data limitations can play in our understanding of disproportionality, or the lack thereof:

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    AEJG supports improved data keeping by the CFC and others in the criminal legal system. AEJG is also working to add more data sets into the Equity Dashboard, in an effort to address limitations inherent in any one dataset. Currently, AEJG is incorporating approximately 50 years of data from the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).

    • Established in 1957 by state lawmakers, the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) maintains information and records from court case management systems across Washington’s non-unified courts, including the Judicial Information System (JIS), the Superior Court Management and Information System (SCOMIS), the Appellate Court System (ACORDS), and Odyssey. AOC uses the data, in part, to develop operational budgets, evaluate judicial system functionality, maintain the computer system that serves the entire court system, provide continuing judicial education, compile statewide court statistics, and provide information to the judicial community, other branches of the government, and the public. The AOC tracks data from points at all stages of felony cases filed in any of Washington’s 39 superior courts.

    AEJG does not expect that adding AOC data will remedy all of the limitations found in the CFC data. That will require improved data keeping by actors throughout the criminal legal system.

Conviction Proportionality

The population of a particular demographic group within the criminal legal 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 Equity Dashboard displays any disproportionality that may exist.

To use this dashboard, select race, year, counties, 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.

Convinction Proportionality dashboard
Conviction Proportionality

Sentencing Proportionality: County & Judge

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%

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 sentenced 20 or fewer cases are highlighted in red.

Note: Users may occasionally see a sentence that is more than 100% of the range (enhancement(s) or an exceptional sentence). There also may be situations where a sentence is less than 0% of the range. These are both because they are exceptional sentences below or above the range.

Sentencing Proportionality: County & Judge dashboard
Sentencing Proportionality: County & Judge

Sentencing Proportionality: 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 sentenced 20 or fewer cases are highlighted in red.

Sentencing Proportionality: Deep Dive dashboard
Sentencing Proportionality: 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 case numbers, sentence length, offense descriptions, and more.

Case Drill Down / Export dashboard
Case Drill Down / Export

Glossary

Data Definitions

Convictions
Count of cases (distinct County Cause Numbers). These are sample county Cause Numbers found in the Case Drill Down Dashboard:

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Disproportionality ratio
Extent to which a demographic group is disproportionately represented in convictions compared to population.

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Enhancements
These allow and often require a judge to increase a sentence beyond the normal range. NOTE: Although Washington State has many enhancements, the CFC data only tracks two: “Sexual Motivation” or “Child Under 16”.
If the sentence includes a “Child Under 16” enhancement, the value will show as “1” on the Case Drill Down page of Equity Dashboard. photo If the sentence includes a “Sexual Motivation” enhancement, the length will be reflected in the Case Drill Down Data.

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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. If an exceptional sentence is imposed, the number and type(s) of substantial and compelling reasons are identified on the Case Drill Down page of the Equity Dashboard.

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LWOP Sentence
The legislature requires that some people be sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment without the possibility of parole ("LWOP"), regardless of the standard sentence range set by Washington’s sentencing grid. RCW 9.94A.570 and RCW 10.95.030. Sentences can be filtered by LWOP on the Case Drill Down Dashboard: photo The Case Drill Down Dashboard describes a LWOP sentence as “9998 months”:

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

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

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Offense Count
The number of offenses included in each sentence. The Case Drill Down Dashboard filter page enables users to sort by “Offense Count.” photo The Case Drill Down Dashboard case detail chart list the offense count for each case included in the filtered data set:

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Offense Description
The CFC assigns an “Offense Description” to each of Washington’s felony crimes. The Sentencing Proportionality: County & Judge, Sentencing Proportionality: Deep Dive, and Case Drill Down Dashboard filter provides a drop-down menu enabling users to sort by “Offense Description”. photo The Case Drill Down Dashboard case detail chart provides the “Offense Description” for every case in the filtered data set:

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Offense Type
The CFC separates Washington’s felony crimes into the following types: Assault, Drug, Failure to Register, Manslaughter, Misdemeanor, Murder 1, Murder 2, Other Felony, Property, Robbery, and Sex. The Case Drill Down Dashboard includes a filter for “Offense Type”. The Case Drill Down Dashboard case detail chart provides the Offense Type for every case in the filtered data set:

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Offender Score
Washington’s legislature uses an individual’s other past and current criminal history to calculate an offender score. RCW 9.94A.525. History can include prior adult convictions and juvenile court dispositions, whether in this state, in federal court, or elsewhere. Although an individual’s criminal history consists primarily of felony convictions, in some instances, it also includes misdemeanors. RCW 9.94A.030(11). An individual’s offender score is measured on the horizontal axis of Washington’s sentencing guidelines grid. The Sentencing Proportionality: Deep Dive provides “Offender Score” specific information: photo The Case Drill Down Dashboard filters enable users to sort by “Offender Score”: photo The Case Drill Down Dashboard case detail chart provides “Offender Score” for each case included in the filtered data set:

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Qualifications
Washington law permits qualifiers to be added to some felony offenses. They affect sentences. These qualifiers include: Attempted Offense, Juvenile Conviction, Washed-Out Conviction, Deadly Weapon Firearm, Deadly Weapon Not-Firearm, Subsequent Deadly Weapon Firearm, Subsequent Deadly Weapon Not-Firearm, Conspiracy, Solicitation, and Sexual Motivation. While the effect of each qualifier should be determined by reference to relevant Washington statutes, the CFC data contained in the Equity Dashboard documents the existence of some qualifiers. The Case Drill Down Dashboard filters enable users to sort for the presence of qualifiers. photo The Case Drill Down Dashboard case detail chart notes whether each case included in the filtered data set includes a "Qualifier”. If “Qualifiers” exist, they are listed in the Case detail chart:

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Sentencing Grid
Decades ago, the Washington state legislature recognized that felony sentencing in our state was disparate, so our lawmakers created a new approach. They gave the most commonly charged felony crimes a Seriousness Level. The devised a formula that looks at an individual’s other past and current crimes and assigns them an Offender Score. The Seriousness Level and Offender Score became the axis on Washington’s Sentencing Grid. Each box in the Sentencing Grid contained a minimum and maximum period of confinement called the “Standard Range.” Unless the case involved exceptional circumstances or enhancements, sentencing judges were required to impose a period of confinement within this Standard Sentence Range. The Sentencing Grid for non-drug cases can be found in RCW 9.94A.510. The Drug Offense Sentencing Grid can be found in RCW 9.94A.517.

Sentence Range %
Each sentencing judge has discretion to choose a sentence in the standard sentence length range specified by the SRA. Sentencing judges cannot legally impose a sentence outside of that standard range unless there are sentence alternatives, enhancements, or grounds for an exceptional sentence. We have converted the sentencing data into an average sentence range percentage. Using this metric, we control for the seriousness of the offense and prior criminal history to see if disparities exist. The ASR%s looks at where, in the standard range, judges sentence. In other words: photo If the sentencing grid requires a sentencing range of 9 to 12 months for a specific scenario:

  • A sentence of less than 0% indicates an exceptional sentence below the low end of the standard range.
  • A sentence of 9 months would equate to 0% in the sentence range percentage
  • A 10.5 month sentence would equate to 50%
  • A sentence of 12 months would equate to 100%
  • A sentence of greater than 100% means the case included an enhancement or exceptional sentence. A sentence greater than 12 months was imposed.

Seriousness Level
Washington’s legislature assigns the most commonly charged felony crimes a seriousness level between I (low) and XVI (high). RCW9.94A.520. This Seriousness Level is measured on the vertical axis of Washington’s sentencing guidelines grid.

Standard Sentence Range
Unless a felony case involves exceptional circumstances or enhancements, judges are required to impose a period of confinement within this range.

Unranked Felonies
Some crimes are “unranked” or without an assigned seriousness level. In such cases, courts are required to impose a sentence that may include zero to 365 days of confinement, unless an exceptional sentence is imposed. RCW 9.94A.505(2)(b). The CFC uses the phrase “Other Felony” to designate unranked felonies. The Case Drill Down Dashboard includes “Other Felony” cases as one of the Offense Types: photo photo The Case Drill Down Dashboard case detail chart notes if the cases included in the filtered data set include an “Other Felony”:

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Verdict
In Washington, criminal cases are resolved one of three ways: A (guilty) Plea or Stipulated Findings & Conclusions, a Jury Trial, or a Bench Trial (guilt is determined by a judge, instead of a jury.) The Sentencing Proportionality: County & Judge, Sentencing Proportionality: Deep Dive, and Case Drill Down Dashboards provides a drop-down menu enabling users to sort by “Verdict”: photo

The Case Drill Down Dashboard case detail chart provides the “Verdict” for every case in the filtered data set:

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