Sentencing: Should prior convictions be taken into account?

Dame_Enda

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
54,575
Should previous convictions be taken into account when determining the length of sentence of an already convicted criminal?

It could reduce the problem of recividism as exemplified by a story on thejournal.ie today about a burglar with 48 prior convictions.
 


O

Oscurito

Yes.

Indeed, I was under the - perhaps naive - impression that it already was being taken into account.
 

silverharp

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
16,553
I'd say so, 80/20 rule , if it cheaper to keep the "20%" out of circulation than the crimes they will likely commit then there should be a multiplier which increases
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
39,552
Should previous convictions be taken into account when determining the length of sentence of an already convicted criminal?

It could reduce the problem of recividism as exemplified by a story on thejournal.ie today about a burglar with 48 prior convictions.
It is taken into consideration already. They can not be mentioned during the trial for fear that they might prejudice the jury, but after the verdict is in the judge can (and does) factor them into his considerations regarding the tariff to be imposed.
 

*EPIC SUCCESS*

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2016
Messages
3,087
Absolutely and there should be incremental increases on each conviction.

Somebody with 2 or 3 hundred convictions should be incarcerated for the rest of their lives. Criminals are mentally ill, but not to the extent that it diminishes their responsibility so why waste societal resources on trying to 'fix' them?
 

Dame_Enda

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
54,575
It is taken into consideration already. They can not be mentioned during the trial for fear that they might prejudice the jury, but after the verdict is in the judge can (and does) factor them into his considerations regarding the tariff to be imposed.
Well they mustnt be taking it into account with sufficient gravity given the low incarceration rate mentioned in the other thread, and the high rate of recidivism. The UK justice system doesnt have many cases of people with hundreds or scores of previous convictions roaming the streets whereas we hear about such cases a lot.
 

Sister Mercedes

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2011
Messages
20,461
Things that should NOT be taken into account in sentencing:

-Whether the person was off their head on drink
-Whether the person was off their head on drugs
-Whether the person was off their head on drink and drugs
-Whether the person comes from a good family
-Whether the person comes from a bad family
 

fergal1790

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2015
Messages
1,743
Should previous convictions be taken into account when determining the length of sentence of an already convicted criminal?

It could reduce the problem of recividism as exemplified by a story on thejournal.ie today about a burglar with 48 prior convictions.
Yes and things like burglary should have the jail time doubled if the victims are targeted because they are elderly or disabled.

Another thing that is needed is to make all sentences run concurrently so that you do the proper time for the number of crimes!

if you get 6 months for one burglary then you should get 3 years for 6 similar crimes instead of "taking them into account" or serving the sentences "consecutively"
 

IvoShandor

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
7,270
Twitter
yes
Things that should NOT be taken into account in sentencing:

-Whether the person was off their head on drink
-Whether the person was off their head on drugs
-Whether the person was off their head on drink and drugs
Whether the person comes from a good family
"Your honour, my client comes from a good family, he hasn't had a previous conviction, he was a good boy up to the moment he (uncharacteristically) beat that man to pulp (or whatever)...go easy on him"

-Whether the person comes from a bad family
"Your honour, my client comes from a troubled family rife with drug addiction, he has many previous convictions, he has had a bad upbringing and doesn't know right from wrong....go easy on him"

What kind of family do you need to come from, for the judge to go hard on you?
 

Dame_Enda

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
54,575
"Your honour, my client comes from a good family, he hasn't had a previous conviction, he was a good boy up to the moment he (uncharacteristically) beat that man to pulp (or whatever)...go easy on him"

"Your honour, my client comes from a troubled family rife with drug addiction, he has many previous convictions, he has had a bad upbringing and doesn't know right from wrong....go easy on him"

What kind of family do you need to come from, for the judge to go hard on you?
They only consistently go tough on murder cases where there is mandatory life sentence (which unfortunately actually isn't a life sentence more like 28 years as with Malcolm McArthur).
 

Disillusioned democrat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2010
Messages
15,908
Absolutely and there should be incremental increases on each conviction.

Somebody with 2 or 3 hundred convictions should be incarcerated for the rest of their lives. Criminals are mentally ill, but not to the extent that it diminishes their responsibility so why waste societal resources on trying to 'fix' them?
This should be absolutely mandatory, along with compulsory custodial sentences for people after 5 or more convictions.

There are ways and means now of "cheaper" imprisonment - I'd be in favour of using modern technology to enable cost effective "house arrest" for many more people. The current prison budget per inmate is farcical so we need to look at ways to reduce this.

After 3 - 4 convictions it needs to be clear that they're not getting it and are incapable of reform and that society needs to be protected from them as opposed to trying to somehow "cure" them.
 

Paddyc

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
10,109
There's a poster Dedogs who's solution to this is quite simple.

A doubling of the sentence for each subsequent offence.
 

Disillusioned democrat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2010
Messages
15,908
There's a poster Dedogs who's solution to this is quite simple.

A doubling of the sentence for each subsequent offence.
It's a simple solution alright, but unless we figure out a way to actually impose these sentences it would be pointless. There seems to be a worryingly high number of complete scumbags on our streets currently "serving" multiple concurrent suspended sentences...it's farcical to be honest, but actually jailing each and everyone of them would cost a fortune.

The US style "industrial" prisons could address some of the cost problems, but can be barbaric. I think technology could provide some of the answer.
 

sadmal

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
12,065
It's a simple solution alright, but unless we figure out a way to actually impose these sentences it would be pointless. There seems to be a worryingly high number of complete scumbags on our streets currently "serving" multiple concurrent suspended sentences...it's farcical to be honest, but actually jailing each and everyone of them would cost a fortune.

The US style "industrial" prisons could address some of the cost problems, but can be barbaric. I think technology could provide some of the answer.
Decrease the ratio of prison officers to prisoner, that's where the high costs come from, if it was more in line with the Europeqn average costs would be reduced.

Get rid of the type of Probation officer Ireland produces who are more like social workers for criminal and replace them with Uk or US style officers who see that their first duty is to protect law abiding citizens.

The average peron would be terrified of the idea of going to prison but for the average criminal it's lke a home from home and in some cases better than their own home.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
39,552
Yes and things like burglary should have the jail time doubled if the victims are targeted because they are elderly or disabled.

Another thing that is needed is to make all sentences run concurrently so that you do the proper time for the number of crimes!

if you get 6 months for one burglary then you should get 3 years for 6 similar crimes instead of "taking them into account" or serving the sentences "consecutively"
The "taken into account" thing is an artifice which allows the police to close files on open cases. They like what it does for their stats.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
39,552
There's a poster Dedogs who's solution to this is quite simple.

A doubling of the sentence for each subsequent offence.
The word your looking for is "simplistic". If, for instance, somebody after several offence, was facing the possibility of ten years in prison for shoplifting, then the case will be defended with ferocity.The requirements for the prosecution will be all the higher given the potential tariff. This would have the effect of forcing police to treat every minor crime as if it had the potential to be one which carried a very heavy sentence. This would tend to stultify their efforts.
 

Felixness

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
4,397
I think a jury should be informed of a defendants prior criminal convictions. A repeat offender should be punished severely, in fact there are some of them that should never be let out of prison. I'm not in favour of death penalties but I do feel that a life sentence should be a life sentence in the sense that the offender only leaves prison in a coffin to be buried.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
39,552
I think a jury should be informed of a defendants prior criminal convictions. A repeat offender should be punished severely, in fact there are some of them that should never be let out of prison. I'm not in favour of death penalties but I do feel that a life sentence should be a life sentence in the sense that the offender only leaves prison in a coffin to be buried.
Ask prison officers whether they think that life should mean life. The possibility of the loss of early release is one of the main inhibitors on the behavior of prisoners.

If a mad bastard in prison knows he's going to die there, he has no real motivation to make anyone's life easier.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
39,552
I think a jury should be informed of a defendants prior criminal convictions. A repeat offender should be punished severely, in fact there are some of them that should never be let out of prison. I'm not in favour of death penalties but I do feel that a life sentence should be a life sentence in the sense that the offender only leaves prison in a coffin to be buried.
Such information would be considered to be extremely prejudicial. The jury is charged with dealing with the facts of the case and nothing more. They are not concerned with the character or history of the accused unless it is directly relevant to the case (such as a history of abusing the victim).
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top