Prior record enhancements at sentencing: Unsettled justifications and unsettling consequences

Rhys Hester, Richard S Frase, Julian V. Roberts, Kelly Lyn Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The consequences of a person’s prior crimes remain after the debt to society is paid and the sentence is discharged. While the practice of using prior convictions to enhance the severity of sentence imposed is universal, prior record enhancements (PREs) play a particularly important role in US sentencing, and especially in guidelines jurisdictions. In grid-based guidelines, criminal history constitutes one of the two dimensions of the grid. The enhancements are hard to justify. Retributive theories generally reject the use of robust, cumulative record-based enhancements. Research into recidivism suggests that the preventive benefits of PREs have been overstated. The public support the consideration of prior convictions at sentencing, but there is convincing evidence that people are less punitive in their views than are many US guideline schemes. PREs exacerbate racial disparities in prison admissions and populations, result in significant additional prison costs, undermine offense-based proportionality, and disrupt prison resource prioritization.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages209-254
Number of pages46
JournalCrime and Justice
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

correctional institution
offense
proportionality
public support
indebtedness
jurisdiction
human being
history
costs
resources
evidence
Society

Cite this

Prior record enhancements at sentencing : Unsettled justifications and unsettling consequences. / Hester, Rhys; Frase, Richard S; Roberts, Julian V.; Mitchell, Kelly Lyn.

In: Crime and Justice, Vol. 47, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 209-254.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hester, Rhys ; Frase, Richard S ; Roberts, Julian V. ; Mitchell, Kelly Lyn. / Prior record enhancements at sentencing : Unsettled justifications and unsettling consequences. In: Crime and Justice. 2018 ; Vol. 47, No. 1. pp. 209-254.
@article{9a68d9177ca143bd9b93e2d09732cb24,
title = "Prior record enhancements at sentencing: Unsettled justifications and unsettling consequences",
abstract = "The consequences of a person’s prior crimes remain after the debt to society is paid and the sentence is discharged. While the practice of using prior convictions to enhance the severity of sentence imposed is universal, prior record enhancements (PREs) play a particularly important role in US sentencing, and especially in guidelines jurisdictions. In grid-based guidelines, criminal history constitutes one of the two dimensions of the grid. The enhancements are hard to justify. Retributive theories generally reject the use of robust, cumulative record-based enhancements. Research into recidivism suggests that the preventive benefits of PREs have been overstated. The public support the consideration of prior convictions at sentencing, but there is convincing evidence that people are less punitive in their views than are many US guideline schemes. PREs exacerbate racial disparities in prison admissions and populations, result in significant additional prison costs, undermine offense-based proportionality, and disrupt prison resource prioritization.",
author = "Rhys Hester and Frase, {Richard S} and Roberts, {Julian V.} and Mitchell, {Kelly Lyn}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1086/695400",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "47",
pages = "209--254",
journal = "Crime and Justice",
issn = "0192-3234",
publisher = "University of Chicago",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Prior record enhancements at sentencing

T2 - Crime and Justice

AU - Hester, Rhys

AU - Frase, Richard S

AU - Roberts, Julian V.

AU - Mitchell, Kelly Lyn

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - The consequences of a person’s prior crimes remain after the debt to society is paid and the sentence is discharged. While the practice of using prior convictions to enhance the severity of sentence imposed is universal, prior record enhancements (PREs) play a particularly important role in US sentencing, and especially in guidelines jurisdictions. In grid-based guidelines, criminal history constitutes one of the two dimensions of the grid. The enhancements are hard to justify. Retributive theories generally reject the use of robust, cumulative record-based enhancements. Research into recidivism suggests that the preventive benefits of PREs have been overstated. The public support the consideration of prior convictions at sentencing, but there is convincing evidence that people are less punitive in their views than are many US guideline schemes. PREs exacerbate racial disparities in prison admissions and populations, result in significant additional prison costs, undermine offense-based proportionality, and disrupt prison resource prioritization.

AB - The consequences of a person’s prior crimes remain after the debt to society is paid and the sentence is discharged. While the practice of using prior convictions to enhance the severity of sentence imposed is universal, prior record enhancements (PREs) play a particularly important role in US sentencing, and especially in guidelines jurisdictions. In grid-based guidelines, criminal history constitutes one of the two dimensions of the grid. The enhancements are hard to justify. Retributive theories generally reject the use of robust, cumulative record-based enhancements. Research into recidivism suggests that the preventive benefits of PREs have been overstated. The public support the consideration of prior convictions at sentencing, but there is convincing evidence that people are less punitive in their views than are many US guideline schemes. PREs exacerbate racial disparities in prison admissions and populations, result in significant additional prison costs, undermine offense-based proportionality, and disrupt prison resource prioritization.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85043520067&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85043520067&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1086/695400

DO - 10.1086/695400

M3 - Article

VL - 47

SP - 209

EP - 254

JO - Crime and Justice

JF - Crime and Justice

SN - 0192-3234

IS - 1

ER -