Criminal History Enhancements
Criminal history scores make up one of the two most significant determinants of the punishment an offender receives in a sentencing guidelines jurisdiction. While prior convictions are taken into account by all U.S. sentencing systems, sentencing guidelines make the role of prior crimes more explicit by specifying the counting rules and indicating the effect of prior convictions on sentence severity. Yet, once established, criminal history scoring formulas go largely unexamined. Moreover, there is great diversity across state and federal jurisdictions in how an offender's criminal record is considered by courts at sentencing. The central purpose of this project was to encourage guidelines jurisdictions to take a critical look at how criminal history enhancements are defined, how they are used, and how their use impacts prison and probation populations within the jurisdiction.
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice