Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Character in the Criminal Trial$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mike Redmayne

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228898

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228898.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2020

The Relevance of Character

The Relevance of Character

(p.10) 2 The Relevance of Character
Character in the Criminal Trial

Mike Redmayne

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the empirical debates underlying character evidence, examining psychological research on the stability of character and the criminological evidence on recidivism. Research in social psychology suggests that character is fragmentary, and that may create problems for some uses of character evidence in the criminal process. But when it comes to the use of character evidence — typically in the form of previous convictions — to prove guilt, social psychology's concerns seem to have little purchase. The best evidence about whether past criminal behaviour is indicative of future criminal behaviour comes from criminal statistics and criminology more generally. While previous offending is one of the best predictors of future offending, most offenders are convicted only once. A single previous conviction for an offence of modest seriousness says little about future risk. Since offending declines with age, one should be wary of thinking that a few convictions gained by age 19 says much about a person at age 24 if they have not offended since.

Keywords:   character evidence, recidivism, criminal behaviour, social psychology, criminal statistics

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .