Criminal History Enhancement Sourcebook

Email or call (612) 626-6600 to request a copy of the Criminal History Enhancements Sourcebook.

Suggested citation: Richard S. Frase, Julian R. Roberts, Rhys Hester, and Kelly Lyn Mitchell, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Criminal History Enhancements Sourcebook (2015).

The Criminal History Project team completed a comprehensive survey and analysis of criminal history formulas found in guidelines systems, and the results of the survey were published in the Criminal History Enhancements Sourcebook (2015). The Sourcebook is a unique resource that brings together, for the first time, information on criminal history enhancements in all existing U.S. sentencing guidelines systems. Building on this base, the Sourcebook examines major variations in the approaches taken by these systems, and identifies the underlying sentencing policy issues raised by such enhancements.


Criminal history scores make up one of the two most significant determinants of the punishment an offender receives in a sentencing guidelines jurisdiction. While prior convictions are taken into account by all U.S. sentencing systems, sentencing guidelines make the role of prior crimes more explicit by specifying the counting rules and by indicating the effect of prior convictions on sentence severity. Yet, once established, criminal history scoring formulas go largely unexamined. Moreover, there is great diversity across state and federal jurisdictions in the ways that an offender’s criminal record is considered by courts at sentencing. This Sourcebook brings together for the first time information on criminal history enhancements in all existing U.S. sentencing guidelines systems. Building on this base, the Sourcebook examines major variations in the approaches taken by these systems, and identifies the underlying sentencing policy issues raised by such enhancements.

The Sourcebook includes:

  • A summary of criminal history enhancements in all guidelines jurisdictions;
  • An analysis of the critical dimensions of an offender’s previous convictions;
  • A discussion of the policy options available to commissions considering amendments to their criminal history enhancements;
  • A bibliography of key readings on the role of prior convictions at sentencing.


Criminal History Enhancement Sourcebook


Richard Frase
Co-Director, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Julian Roberts
Co-Director, Criminal History Enhancements
Rhys Hester
Former Research Fellow in Sentencing Law and Policy
Kelly Lyn Mitchell
Executive Director, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice