Sentencing convicted thieves: Principals, policy and practice

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The thesis examines court sentencing decisions in theft cases within the context of a proportionality-based sentencing framework. Whilst relatively little is known of the magistrates’ court and Crown Court interpretations of proportionality, such as the impact that various aggravating and mitigating factors may have on the sentencing decision, the thesis examines those factors (relating to both the offence and the offender) that appear to have the greatest impact on the sentencing decision. Additionally, it was accepted here that the courts may rely (to some extent) on a number of other sentencing justifications, particularly crime prevention through rehabilitation, deterrence and incapacitation.

    The thesis finds that only a small number of factors individually appear to affect the sentencing decision. In other cases, a number of factors work together to increase the seriousness of the offence and consequently inform the sentencing decision.

    The thesis also finds that whilst proportionality considerations may dominate the sentencing decisions in some cases, in others the courts appear to have high regard to the need to prevent crime, particularly where an offender has a demonstrated pattern of offending due to a drug addiction. Whilst in some cases these crime reduction aims may be used within the confines of proportionality, the courts’ desire to prevent crime may eclipse proportionality constraints, ultimately leading to an apparently disproportionate sentence.
    Date of Award2011
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorBarry Mitchell (Supervisor) & Ralph Henham (Supervisor)

    Cite this