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Guidelines Research Proposals. Felony Child Abuse and Neglect. Focus: Convictions under § 18.2-371.1(A) between FY03 and FY07

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felony child abuse and neglect
Felony Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Focus: Convictions under § 18.2-371.1(A) between FY03 and FY07
    • Any parent, guardian or other person responsible for the care of a child under the age of 18 who by willful act or omission or refusal to provide any necessary care for the child's health causes or permits serious injury to the life or health of such child.
      • For the purposes of this subsection, serious injury includes but is not limited to:
        • (i) disfigurement
        • (ii) a fracture
        • (iii) a severe burn or laceration
        • (iv) mutilation
        • (v) maiming
        • (vi) forced ingestion of dangerous substances
        • (vii) life-threatening internal injuries
background
Background
  • The Commission received 262 guidelines forms with felony child abuse as the most serious offense between FY03 and FY07
  • Purpose of Study: Increase compliance with sentencing guidelines in felony child abuse cases
data sources
Data Sources
  • Sentencing Guidelines Database
    • Provides sentencing information from the guidelines forms, including the offender’s prior record, the nature of the offense(s), and judicial departure reasons, if applicable
  • Pre/Post-Sentence Investigation (PSI) Database
    • Provides detailed information regarding offenders and corresponding offenses
      • Includes the offender’s social history, victim characteristics, and the degree of victim injury
      • A detailed offense narrative is available in most cases, which allows for supplemental data collection
supplemental data collection
Supplemental Data Collection
  • Offense narratives are available for most cases in the PSI data
    • The narratives allow us to collect more detailed information regarding the offense and, in particular, the nature of the victim’s injuries
      • Since 33% of the judges who exceeded the guidelines recommendation cited victim injury as a departure reason, several measures of victim injury were developed for use in the supplemental data collection instrument
proposed supplemental data collection instrument
Proposed Supplemental Data Collection Instrument

[i] Age at the time of the offense – if series of offenses, age at time of 1st offense

[ii] Includes foster parents, residential facility staff, legal guardian, etc.

[iii] Failure to act – i.e. not paying attention, not seeking medical attention

[iv] Act causes injury – i.e. striking the victim, burning the victim, etc.

proposed supplemental data collection instrument cont
Proposed Supplemental Data Collection Instrument Cont.

[i] Mental health care counseling by counselor, therapist, etc.

[ii] Life threatening injury or injury involved permanent impairment (permanent brain damage, loss of limb or organ, etc.)

[iii] Non-life threatening injury requiring hospitalization but not extensive or irreparable physical damage (i.e. broken bones, severe burns or lacerations, etc.)

[iv] Physical injuries not requiring hospitalization (i.e. bruises, minor cuts)

[v] Fear of impending danger – from victim’s perspective

proposed supplemental data collection instrument cont8
Proposed Supplemental Data Collection Instrument Cont.

[i] Called an ambulance, took victim to hospital, etc.

additional variables of interest
Additional Variables of Interest
  • Offender Factors
    • History of violence
      • Prior person offenses
    • Prior convictions for:
      • Family offenses
      • Felony child abuse
      • Domestic assault
  • Offense Factors
    • Number of co-defendants
    • If other offenses were committed in conjunction with the child abuse/neglect
work plan
Work Plan
  • Commission staff would conduct data retrieval and analysis during the summer
  • Results of the analysis would be presented at the September 2008 meeting
felony vandalism
Felony Vandalism
  • Focus: Convictions under § 18.2-137(B)(ii) between FY03 and FY07
    • Vandalism of property, memorial or monument with a value of $1,000 or more
  • Purpose of Study: Explore possibility of adding felony vandalism to the miscellaneous sentencing guidelines worksheet
background12
Background
  • Felony vandalism cases comprise the largest portion of convictions not covered by the guidelines
  • The staff of the Commission have attempted to incorporate this offense into the miscellaneous guidelines in the past but have been unsuccessful
  • The Commission has obtained access to an additional data source to supplement the cases contained in the Pre/Post-Sentence Investigation (PSI) Database
data sources13
DataSources
  • Pre/Post-Sentence Investigation (PSI) Database
    • Provides detailed information regarding offenders and corresponding offenses
    • Is an incomplete representation of felony cases processed through Virginia’s circuit courts
      • PSI reports are not generated for some felony circuit court cases, particularly if the offender is not sentenced to a prison term or supervised probation
      • A lag in reporting exists
    • PSI data show 666 felony vandalism convictions between FY03 and FY07. Of these, felony vandalism was the primary offense in 281 cases.
data sources cont
Data Sources Cont.
  • Court Automated Information System (CAIS)
    • System used by most of the circuit courts to track cases
      • Contains information on felony vandalism cases that are not in the PSI database
      • Includes basic case information, including offender demographics, the type of offense(s), and the type/length of sentence
    • According to preliminary analysis, there were 223 additional cases with felony vandalism as the primary offense at conviction between FY03 and FY07
supplemental data
Supplemental Data
  • More detailed information for the cases in the CAIS data would be collected from various sources:
    • Virginia State Police (Prior record)
    • Sentencing guidelines and PSI data
      • Cases for the same offender that were resolved around the same time may provide additional information regarding the offender
variables of interest
Variables of Interest
  • Factors included on the miscellaneous worksheet
    • Counts of primary offense
    • Additional offenses
    • Prior record
    • Legally restrained at the time of the offense
  • Additional factors
    • Value of property
      • Assessed through amount of restitution ordered
work plan17
Work Plan
  • Commission staff would conduct data analysis during the summer
  • Results of the analysis would be presented at the September 2008 meeting