Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

Robina Publishes Criminal History Enhancement Sourcebook

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (08/18/2015) The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice is pleased to announce the publication of the Criminal History Enhancements Sourcebook, which examines elements of criminal history enhancements in 18 state and federal jurisdictions within the United States. This publication is the result of the Robina Institute’s Criminal History Enhancements Project, led by project Co-Directors Professor Richard S. Frase and Visiting Professor Julian V. Roberts.

The Sourcebook is authored by Professor Richard S. Frase, Visiting Professor Julian V. Roberts, Robina Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow Rhys Hester; and Robina Institute Executive Director Kelly Lyn Mitchell.

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 by 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 the ways that an offender’s criminal record is considered by courts at sentencing.

This Sourcebook brings together for the first time information on criminal history enhancements in all existing U.S. sentencing guidelines systems. Building on this base, theSourcebook examines major variations in the approaches taken by these systems, and identifies the underlying sentencing policy issues raised by such enhancements.

The Sourcebook contains the following elements

  • A summary of criminal history enhancements in all guidelines jurisdictions;
  • An analysis of the critical dimensions of an offender’s previous convictions;
  • A discussion of the policy options available to commissions considering amendments to their criminal history enhancements; and
  • A bibliography of key readings on the role of prior convictions at sentencing.

To download the full text of the Sourcebook or learn more about the Robina Institute’s Criminal History Enhancements Project, visit the Criminal History Enhancements Project page.

To request a hard copy of the Criminal History Enhancements Sourcebook, please emailrobina@umn.edu, or call (612) 626-6600 before October 1, 2015.