How Much Should Previous Convictions Increase Sentence Severity, and Why?

17 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2013 Last revised: 15 Jun 2014

See all articles by Orhun Hakan Yalincak

Orhun Hakan Yalincak

University of Durham, Alumnus; University of Oxford, Centre for Criminology, Law Faculty, Alumnus; State University of New York (ESC), Alumnus

Date Written: September 1, 2013

Abstract

Enhancing sentences for repeat offenders is an ancient concept dating back to Biblical times and have been successfully succeeded by a variety of similar practices. How much should previous convictions increase sentence severity, and why is one of the most contested questions in the field of criminal sentencing theory and practice. This essay argues that “there are no magical numbers” in determining how much a previous conviction should increase future sentence severity. Rather, this essay reviews the four prevailing paradigms for consideration of previous convictions and using the existing law in England and Wales as a template advocates a nuanced approach. In this way, this essay proposes a bespoke approach that attempts to respond to contemporary criticisms of consideration of previous convictions at sentencing. The primary strength of the nuanced approach advocated in this essay is that it narrows the spectrum of offenses that would be subject to increased penalties and sets firm upper limits on any penalty enhancements to ensure proportionality, restraint and parsimony.

Keywords: state punishment, theories and rationales of punishment, previous convictions, sentencing, sentencing rationale

JEL Classification: K14, K19, K30, K40, K41, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Yalincak, Orhun Hakan and Yalincak, Orhun Hakan, How Much Should Previous Convictions Increase Sentence Severity, and Why? (September 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2312858 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2312858

Orhun Hakan Yalincak (Contact Author)

University of Durham, Alumnus ( email )

Old Elvet
Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3HP
United Kingdom

University of Oxford, Centre for Criminology, Law Faculty, Alumnus ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

State University of New York (ESC), Alumnus ( email )

Vestal Parkway East
Binghamton, NY 13902
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
89
Abstract Views
1,161
Rank
537,859
PlumX Metrics