Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Mitigation and Aggravation at Sentencing

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_491

Overview

The determination of factors which aggravate or mitigate punishment is an under-researched yet vital subject in the field of sentencing. Sentencing factors affect the severity of sentences imposed. Indeed, the determination of sentence may be regarded as a judicial weighing of all relevant mitigating and aggravating circumstances. The important word here is “relevant.” Before a court takes a particular factor – X – into account, it needs to be satisfied that this factor is relevant to the sentencing decision. Factors unrelated to sentencing – such as the offender’s income, gender, race/ethnicity, or social class – should be ignored. As will be seen, some sentencing guidelines explicitly direct courts to ignore irrelevant factors such as race and employment status.

After some introductory comments this chapter notes the sources of guidance for sentencers with respect to mitigation and aggravation. This is followed by a discussion of the problems associated with this guidance....

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Recommended Reading and References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Law, Centre for CriminologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK