Sentencing: The Influence of Alternative Measures of Prior Record

SUSAN WELCH, JOHN GRUHL, Cassia Spohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

While there is nearly unanimous agreement among social scientists that the defendant's prior record is important in explaining the sentence imposed on the defendant, there is little agreement on the “best” or most appropriate measure of prior record to use in examining sentence disparity. This study provides an assessment of the utility of 11 commonly used measures of prior record. We find that the various measures are not interrelated highly and thus necessarily are not interchangeable. We also find that the measures of prior record affect sentence severity differently and that the relationships between these measures and sentence severity varies for black and white defendants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalCriminology
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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