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Summary of Characteristics of New Commitments 1997

NCJ Number
Robert L. Fisher; Elizabeth Langevin
Date Published
36 pages
This document describes the population of new court commitments to the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DCS) during 1997.
The tables present information on legal history characteristics of new commitments (crime, minimum sentence, and prior criminal record) and on demographic characteristics (age, sex, ethnic status, and county of commitment). In addition, several tables show trends in new court commitments for the 1994-1997 time period. The data show admissions to the DCS in 1997 totaled 29,880. Of this figure, 20,803 (70 percent) were new court commitments, 6,847 (23 percent) were returned parole violators, and 2,230 (7 percent) were other admissions. About 28 percent of new commitments were violent felony offenders, 47 percent drug offenders, 15 percent property or other offenders, 7 percent coercive crime offenders, and 3 percent youthful and juvenile offenders. Of the new court commitments, 47 percent were sentenced as first felony offenders, 52 percent as second felony offenders, and 1 percent as persistent felony offenders. The minimum sentence for new court commitments averaged 44 months, the maximum sentence averaged 86 months, and the median sentence averaged 60 months. About 13 percent of new court commitments had no prior adult arrest, 7 percent had a prior adult arrest but no conviction, 21 percent had a prior conviction but received a sentence other than jail or prison, 29 percent had served a prior local jail sentence, and 30 percent had previously served a State or Federal term. The number of drug offenders committed to State prison decreased each year between 1994 and 1997, from 10,504 to 9,804. Males comprised 92 percent of new court commitments. White offenders were primarily committed for violent felony offenses and property offenses, and black offenders were primarily committed for drug offenses and violent felony offenses. Hispanic offenders were primarily drug offenders and about 25 percent were violent offenders. The age of new court commitments averaged 30.7 years. Detailed statistics are also tabulated on county and region of commitment, country of birth, educational level, marital status, jail time, and life without parole. Appendixes present additional information on minimum and maximum sentences by felony class category and on DCS crime codes. 21 tables and 4 figures