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Sentencing

San Diego Law Review

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The Punishment Should Fit The Crime—Not The Prior Convictions Of The Person That Committed The Crime: An Argument For Less Impact Being Accorded To Previous Convictions, Mirko Bagaric Jun 2014

The Punishment Should Fit The Crime—Not The Prior Convictions Of The Person That Committed The Crime: An Argument For Less Impact Being Accorded To Previous Convictions, Mirko Bagaric

San Diego Law Review

The seriousness of the offense is the main consideration that should determine the severity of criminal punishment. This cardinal sentencing principle is undermined by the reality that often the criminal history of the offender is the most decisive sentencing consideration. Recidivists are frequently sent to imprisonment for long periods for crimes, which, when committed by first-time offenders, are dealt with by a bond, probation, or a fine. This makes sentencing more about an individual’s profile than the harm caused by the offender and has contributed to a large increase in prison numbers. Intuitively, it feels right to punish repeat ...