The House of Corrections population is less violent than the state prison population.


Property offenses figure much larger in the House of Corrections population than in the state prison population — violent offenses are still the largest group at 36%, but property offenses are close behind at 33%, whereas property offenses account for only 9% of the state prison population.

Per se drug offenses — violations of the controlled substances law — account for essentially the same proportion as at the state level — approximately 15%.

The proportions above are estimates. There is no consolidated state-wide breakdown of the House of Correction population by offense type. However, the Sentencing Commission, in its annual survey of sentencing practices does compute the number of persons sentenced to the House of Correction and the mean sentence length in months for each offense in the criminal code. This allows an estimate of steady state population by multiplying count by sentence length for each offense.

The method should be taken as yielding a roughly correct breakdown of the population by type of offense, not the actual population account. The steady state population estimate that this method produces is 7,065 which is greater than the actual current House of Correction population of 5,216. However, the method should yield a number greater than actual because (a) some inmates are paroled, and the method is based on the full sentence; (b) many sentences to the House of Corrections are served in part before trial in the jails, but the pre-trial portions of the sentences are included in the final sentence captured in the Sentencing Commission averages.

The chart below details the individual offense computations in the estimate. A couple of notes about the data:

  • “Person” offenses are violent offenses.
  • The offense shown is the offense at conviction carrying the longest sentence.
  • Often offenders are charged with offenses carrying higher penalties and then these charges are dropped in return for a plea of guilty. So, for example, a case that started out as a school zone dealing case, might appear in these statistics as just a drug distribution charge or even a possession charge. In my court room experience, true possession cases rarely if ever result in incarceration, so most possession cases in these statistics probably started out as dealing cases.

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House of Correction Offenses by Person Years of Incarceration in Fiscal 2013

Seriousness LevelGoverning Offense# of CommitmentsMean Sentenced MonthsSentenced Person YearsType
3Larceny More9337.1548.5Property
4Distribute Class B36610.4317.4Drug
4Distribute Class A31411.4299.5Drug
4A&B Dangerous Weapon18817.4272.6Person
4Larceny Person27310.6240.3Person
3Restraining Order Violation4305.9210Person
3Assault Dangerous Weapon2628.7190.8Person
2Firearm Possess w/o Permit14212.3145Gun
4Control Substance School6924.3140Drug
2Receiving Stolen Goods2536.2131.6Property
2Possession Class B3443.9110.7Drug
4Distribute Cocaine5520.895.4Drug
3Receiving Stolen Goods Over941294.1Property
2Resisting Arrest3083.691.2Person
3A&B Dangerous Weapon2404.487.2Person
3Larceny Building1109.587.1Property
3Sex Offender Fail Register1099.485.2Sex
5Indecent A&B On Child5418.683.9Sex
3Forgery And Uttering1377.282.7Property
2Larceny Less2663.781.3Property
2Operate to Endanger2134.478.6MV
2Operate After Suspension 2nd3552.574.3MV
3Receiving Stolen Goods MV909.772.6Property
3Possess Burglarious Tools809.865.5Property
2Possession Class A2213.563.7Drug
2Property Destruction1624.661.6Property
4A&B Elderly / Disabled w/Injury6211.860.9Person
2Distribute Class D1186.260.5Drug
3Leaving Scene Property Damage1444.959.1MV
3Mal Dest Property More5010.945.2Property
3Carrying Dangerous Weapon856.344.9Gun
3Child Pornography Possess4211.841.3Sex
4Indecent A&B3014.636.6Sex
4Fraud - Identity479.135.7Property
2Possession Class A Heroin954.333.9Drug
0Attempt To Commit Crime67633.6Other
3Larceny MV497.731.4Property
5A&B Aggravated2612.827.7Person
5A&B DW, Aggravated1421.124.7Person
6Rape Of Child1420.523.9Sex
2Open And Gross317.719.9Sex
3Harassment Order Violation415.619.2Person
2Possess Ammunition1911.618.4Gun
3Leaving Scene Personal Injury317.118.3MV
2Use Without Authority53417.9Property
3Credit Card Misuse - More1216.416.4Property
3Reckless Endangerment199.414.9MV
5A&B Child w/Injury1214.314.3Person
4OUI Serious Inj, Fel1412.214.3MV
6MV Homicide - OUI Felony722.313MV
3Possession Class B 2nd178.812.5Drug
0Conspiracy Violate CSA226.512Drug
2Possession Class C443.211.8Drug
4Larceny Person + 65915.711.8Person
6A&B DW, Aggravated w/Injury719.611.5Person
1Possession Class E522.611.2Drug
6A&B Aggravated - Serious Injury621.510.8Person
1Disorderly Conduct721.810.6Person
3Distribute Class C206.210.3Drug
1Operate After Suspension3820.39.7MV
3Ignition Interlock Violation157.49.3MV
2Credit Card Misuse2259.1Property
2True Name Law372.78.4Property
3Gun Serial Number910.37.7Gun
5Entice Child518.37.6Sex
2Forge Prescription194.87.6Property
4A&B Guard99.97.4Person
3Larceny More + 60516.87Property
2Distribute Class E165.26.9Drug
2Habitual Traffic Offender312.66.8MV
3MV Homicide107.96.6MV
3OUI Serious Inj, Misd107.96.6MV
7A&B Child w/Injury Substantial3266.5Person
2Failure to Appear1556.3Other
2Property Violation135.66.1Property
1Indecent Exposure232.95.6Sex
2B&E w/i Misdemeanor232.95.5Property
2Counterfeit/Alter MV Document164.15.5MV
3Failure to Appear Felony321.75.4Other
0Accessory After610.85.4Other
2Compulsory Insurance Violation511.25.2MV
4Photograph Nude Person512.25.1Sex
4A&B Dangerous Weapon + 602305Person
3Defrauding Insurer69.24.6Property
6Burning Dwelling House2274.5Property
5Common & Notorious Thief2274.5Property
4MV Homicide - OUI2274.5MV
2Presence Class A134.14.5Drug
3A&B w/I Intimidate4124Person
3Possession Class A 2nd85.93.9Drug
2Possess Stun Gun410.83.6Gun
5Perjury or Suborn3143.5Other
4Leaving Scene Death2213.5MV
3Possession Class A Heroin 2nd58.43.5Drug
2Possession Class D123.23.2Drug
3Cruelty To Animals103.73.1Other
4Traffic Mar 50-1002183Drug
3Burning Motor Vehicle47.92.6Property
5Stalking Violation of Rest. Order2152.5Person
4Attempt Arson1302.5Property
3Firearm Store Improper Felony1302.5Gun
3Possess Firearm Silencer3102.5Gun
2Distribute Counterfeit Substance64.62.3Drug
1Obscene Materials213.52.3Sex
2Firearm Store Improper46.52.2Gun
2Failure To Return Leased Prop102.62.1Property
4Gun Serial Number, Felony1242Gun
3Assault Dangerous Weapon + 601242Person
3Distribute Class D 2nd2122Drug
0Accessory Before2122Other
7Carjacking, Armed1242Person
2False Report Of Crime92.62Other
1Common Night Walker141.72Sex
4Giving Prisoner Cont Sub45.81.9Drug
2Accost / Annoy Person Opposite Sex63.81.9Sex
1Annoying Phone Calls102.11.8Sex
4Bomb Hoax210.51.8Other
3OUI - Child Endangerment45.31.8MV
2Disrupt Court Proceedings45.21.7Other
2False Statement On Application44.81.6Other
4Attempt Burn Building1191.6Property
1Inhaling Toxic Vapors53.31.4Drug
2False Alarm28.21.4Other
3Burning Property53.21.3Property
6A&B Elderly / Disabled Ser Injury115.51.3Person
3Interfere Police or Firefighter43.81.3Person
3A&B Ambulance27.51.3Person
1Possession Class D Marijuana43.61.2Drug
2Common Night Walker 3rd26.51.1Sex
1Lewd And Lacivious52.41Sex
4Enter Dwelling w/I Felony261Property
4Receiving Stolen Goods MV 2nd1121Property
3Animal Kill or Poison261Other
3Inducing Minor To Sex1121Sex
0Attempt B&E1121Property
2Mistreat Police Animal1121Other
2Tagging Property1121Property
2Welfare Violation1121Property
2Disconnect Sprinkler System33.70.9Other
1Alcohol, Procure for Minor81.10.7Other
3Contempt Of Court32.70.7Other
2Contributing To Delinquency240.7Other
1Disturb Correctional Institution32.30.6Other
3Unnatural Acts23.50.6Sex
3Violation Of Civil Rights16.60.6Other
4Ignition Interlock Tamper160.5MV
3Larceny Firearm160.5Property
2Larceny Less +60160.5Property
2MV - False Report Of Theft150.4MV
1Disturb Peace, 2nd Offense50.90.4Other
1Obstructing Justice140.3Other
2Keeping A House Of Ill Fame140.3Sex
1Hiring Vehicle / Fraud21.50.3MV
1Attaching Wrong MV Plates80.30.2MV
3Possession Hypodermic 2nd120.2Drug
2Obscene Material to Minor120.2Sex
0Attempt Larceny20.90.2Property
2DNA Refuse20.70.1Other
2Clean Water Act Violation110.1Other
4Larceny Cont Sub10.30Drug
2Defrauding Innkeeper10.30Property
Source: Analysis of Table 46 from Survey of Sentencing Practices, FY13. Table 46 supplied in electronic form by Sentencing Commissions. Values may not check exactly due to rounding.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.