Source: (2013) In, David J. Cornwell, John Blad, and Martin Wright, eds., Civilising criminal justice: An international restorative justice agenda for penal reform. pp. 187-206.

In particular, we focus on the role of persistent recidivism in this stage of the sentencing process. Increasingly, in the UK and elsewhere, past convictions have been used to communicate particular messages bu they do so by aggravating seriousness. By so doing, they inflate the sentencing levels in a way which could be deemed disproportionate. Indeed, it could be argued that pure desert theory is incompatible with any premiums for past offending but desert theorists have tried to accommodate past offending within retributivist approaches to sentencing. So, whilst the role of past convictions in desert theory is problematic, we will assess the more appropriate and fairest way of dealing with them in constructing seriousness for sentencing purposes. (excerpt)