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Previous Convictions at Sentencing

Theoretical and Applied Perspectives

Editor(s): Julian V Roberts, Andreas von Hirsch
Media of Previous Convictions at Sentencing
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Published: 24-07-2014
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 268
ISBN: 9781849466844
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Studies in Penal Theory and Penal Ethics
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £22.99
Online price : £20.69
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Loren Epson

About Previous Convictions at Sentencing

This latest volume in the Penal Theory and Penal Ethics series addresses one of the oldestquestions in the field of criminal sentencing: should an offender's previous convictions affect the sentence? Although there is an extensive literature on the definition and use of criminal history information, the emphasis here is on the theoretical and normative aspects of considering previous convictions at sentencing. Several authors explore the theory underlying the practice of mitigating the punishments for first offenders, while others put forth arguments for enhancing sentences for recidivists.

Table Of Contents

1 Proportionality and the Progressive Loss of Mitigation: Some Further Reflections
Andrew von Hirsch
2 First-Offender Sentencing Discounts: Exploring the Justifi cations
Julian V Roberts
3 Recidivism, Retributivism, and the Lapse Theory of Previous Convictions
Jesper Ryberg
4 Repeat Offenders and the Question of Desert
Youngjae Lee
5 'More to Apologise For': Can We Find a Basis for the Recidivist Premium in a Communicative Theory of Punishment?
Chris Bennett
6 The Questionable Relevance of Previous Convictions to Punishments for Later Crimes
Michael Tonry
7 Prior-conviction Sentencing Enhancements: Rationales and Limits Based on Retributive and Utilitarian Proportionality Principles and Social Equality Goals
Richard S Frase
8 The Illusion of Proportionality: Desert and Repeat Offenders
Kevin R Reitz
9 Dimensions of Criminal History: Refl ections on Theory and Practice
Martin Wasik
10 The Role of Previous Convictions in England and Wales
Estella Baker and Andrew Ashworth
11 Previous Convictions and Proportionate Punishment under Swedish Law
Petter Asp
12 Assessing the Impact of a Recidivist Sentencing Premium on Crime and Recidivism Rates
Lila Kazemian


“This collection is welcome as it offers insights into the problems facing sentencers and penologists in taking past convictions into account” –  Susan Easton, Criminal Law Review

“The editors and contributors tackle a particularly thorny issue in this elegant 256-page text: Should an offender's previous convictions affect sentence?.. Professors Roberts and von Hirsch address with signal skill the question of just deserts and proportionality, the progressive loss of mitigation, the issues of first offender discounts.. and the question of deserved punishment when recidivism is demonstrated” –  Judge G. Renaud, Criminal Law Quarterly (Volume 59)

“the experiences, developments and points of view in other countries, as described in this book, are very valuable to us” –  J.A.W. Lensing, Trema Straftoemetings bulletin

“In Previous Convictions at Sentencing Roberts and Von Hirsch have brought together a selection of leading thinkers to illuminate an aspect of punishment theory and practice that has largely remained in the shadows despite its obvious importance. An attractive feature of the book, in addition to the thoughtful and penetrating analyses that it contains, is the vigorous exchange of views that takes place between its covers. The editors have not shied away from including perspectives that are at odds with their own, or from revising and reformulating their views, or indeed from finding fault with each other's conclusions. This internal dialogue helps to expose where further critical inquiry would yield the greatest return.” –  Ian O'Donnell, Punishment & Society

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