29 July 2022
Data release on sentencing drug offences – factors and outcomes
Today, the Council has published data covering the factors taken into account when sentencing adult offenders for a selection of drug offences, and details of the sentence imposed. We hope that users will find these datasets useful in order to conduct their own analysis.
These data were collected from magistrates’ courts between November 2015 and January 2016 after the publication of the Council’s initial set of drug offences guidelines, which came into force in February 2012. The data collected were used in the drug offences guideline evaluation which was published in June 2018, and cover the offences of possession of a controlled drug (class A and B) and production of a controlled drug (class B only) or cultivation of cannabis plant, where these offences were the principal offence.
The datasets contain information on the culpability and harm factors taken into account by sentencers, details of any aggravating or mitigating factors (including previous convictions), information about the guilty plea where relevant, including the reductions applied, and details of the final sentence imposed. They also contain information on the single most important factor affecting the sentence, which magistrates and district judges were also asked to record.
This is the second release of the Council’s bespoke targeted data collections that it has moved to undertaking since the cessation of the Crown Court Sentencing Survey. It follows publication of the magistrates’ courts data collection on the offence of theft from a shop or stall in December 2020.
Alongside the datasets, the Council has also published a suite of documents to aid their comprehension. This includes a metadata document (an Excel spreadsheet detailing the variables included within the datasets), a background quality report (which is an assessment of the quality of the datasets from a variety of different dimensions) and a disclosure statement.
If you have any feedback on this data publication, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.