Please join us at 3:00pm for tea and biscuits for a 3:30pm start.


All jurisdictions impose harsher sentences upon repeat offenders. Across the US, prior record enhancements have a powerful impact on sentencing outcomes. Despite this, there has been little scholarship upon the nature and consequences of this universal element of sentencing. This seminar summarises  a recent research project which explored the practice across the US. Findings demonstrate that prior record enhancements contribute to mass incarceration, carry many adverse consequences, and with little preventive or retributive justification. Race and gender play a key role: minority offenders and female offenders are disproportionately affected when previous convictions are routinely used to enhance sentences.