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Review Lifecourse Theories Review Sampson and Laub …

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Developmental Criminology
Basic Concepts/QuestionsDevelopmental TheoriesPolicy Implications
Arrest Rate
Age at Arrest

10 20 30 40 50
Property Crimes, peak age = 16
Violent Crimes, peak age = 18
The Age-Crime Relationship
Is the Age/Crime Curve Misleading?
Data isAGGREGATEIt could hide subgroups of offenders, or “offending trajectories”Data isCross-SectionalDoesn’t track stability/change over timeData isOFFICIALCannot tell us about the precursors to official delinquency (childhood antisocial behavior)
Antisocial Behavior Is Stable
COHORT STUDIES = CHRONIC 6%Correlation between past and future criminal behavior ranges from .6 to .7 (very strong)Lee Robins- Studies of cohorts of malesAntisocial Personality as an adult virtuallyrequireshistory of CASBCASB as early as age 6 related to delinquencyMore severe behavior has more stability“Early onset delinquency” powerful indicator of stability
But there isCHANGE
1/2 of antisocial children are never arrestedThe vast majority of delinquents desist as they enter adulthood (mid 20s)
New and Old Ideas
OLD: Crime is the province of adolescents; theories of delinquency most importantEasier to find/survey adolescents too!New (Considering stability/development )Theories of adolescent delinquency are at best incompleteCentral causes of delinquency lie inchildhoodChronic offenders still may desist during adulthoodLifecourseQuestionsWhy do some age out of crime while others don’t?Why is criminality so stable over time?What causes crime at different stages of life?
“Career Criminal” ParadigmEarly roots in criminology—studies of robbers, fences, and so forthCrime as an occupation specialization, escalation, etc.Empirical evidence = little specialization, crime not as an “occupation”Developmental Criminology replaces “Career Criminal” paradigm in 1980s
Lifecourse Theory I
Must explain why there is stability (continuity) in antisocial behaviorMust explain childhood precursors to offending (childhood antisocial behavior)Severe (age inappropriate) temper tantrumsDeviant/criminal behaviorMust explain desistence, or “change”Antisocial children, but not adultsAdults that “age out”
Lifecourse Theory II
Types ofLifecourseTheoriesContinuity (Trait) Theories (G&H)Continuity and Change Theories (Sampson andLaub)Continuity or Change Theories (Moffitt)
Continuity Theories
Some “thing” that is stable over time and related to crimeGottfreson and Hirschi Low self-controlBecomes very stable by age 8Causes crime and other nastinessProblem?Why do people desist? Explain “childhood recoveries” or adult desistence?G&HPeople desist –it’s a “law” or “constant” like gravity, which doesn’t’ need explanation
Sampson and Laub
Important/Popular book:Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through LifeFirst to fully outline “lifecourse” criminologyPut forth a lifecourse theoryUse “Glueck data” to test theory
Pathways and Turning Points
Pathways = stabilityTurning Points = opportunity for change
Sampson and Laub
ParentingSupervisionDisciplineSocial BondsFamilySchoolDelinquent Peers
Childhood Adolescence Adulthood
Social BondsMarriageGood Job
Length ofIncarceration
Adult Crime
Stability of TrajectoryIndividual differences (traits) possibleCumulative ContinuityDelinquency/crime has effect on “adult social bonds”Delinquency/crime can lead to incarceration, which also has effect on adult social bondsThese bonds, in turn, have effect on future crime
Just a little reminder…
Because I care…
WLPctPF PAChicago Bears 7 1 .875 236 120GreenBay Packers 6 3 .667 239 187Minnesota Vikings 5 4 .556 204 197Detroit Lions 4 4 .500 192 188
Turning Points = Adult Social BondsQuality MarriageQuality EmploymentWhy would these things reduce crime?S&L: they increase informal control (bind individuals to society, give them something to lose)Other explanations (spend less time with criminal friends, etc.)
Sampson and Laub II
New Book/Articles based on follow-up data fromGleucksampleFollowed until age 70Similar to original theoryEmployment, marriage, military serviceMore complex-why a “turning point?”Knife off past from the present/futureSupervision/monitoring (control) but also opportunities for social support/growthChange to structure/routine activitiesOpportunity for identity transformation
How do people desist?
Desistence by DefaultNo conscious decision to “stop offending”Rather, roles, structure, social context changesHuman AgencyVague concept that implies people have some say in the matter.Not same as “rational choice” nor is it a “trait”Interaction = land a good job but still must want to keepTheoretical ImportanceLives do not “unfold” in predictable sequencesDesistence more difficult to explain than onset or persistence
Terrie Moffitt
A StabilityorChange TheoryArgument:There are 2 different “kinds” of offenders in the worldThese types can be characterized by their unique “offending trajectories”Failure of Mainstream Criminology?During adolescence, these two groups look rather similar
Moffitt’s 2 Groups of Offenders
LCP’sEarly Start, Stable over lifecourse, 5% of general population (small group)Therefore…Why start so early? Why so stable?AL’sLate starters, desist in adulthood, very prevalent in populationTherefore….Why start so late? Why desist right away?
Explaining the LCP trajectory
Presence of “Neuropsychological Deficits”Where do they come from?Why do they matter?INTERACTING WITHIneffective ParentingMonitoring, supervision, etc.This “dual hazard” puts them on bad path…however…
Cumulative Continuity for LCP’s
What in the environment is affected?Peer RejectionSchool FailureParentingTHEREFORECumulative continuityContemporary continuity (still have N.P. Deficit, personality traits)
Explaining the AL’s
Maturity GapKnifing off Bonds as “rewarding”MimicWhy do AL’s desist?However, some may exhibit continuity“Snares” as another example of cumulative continuity
Key Moffitt Questions
Why do we need 2 theories?How does she account for stability and change?Specific explanations of LCP and AL offending
Policy Implications
The seduction of the chronic 6%The promise of early interventionTheory Specific ImplicationsMoffitt causes of neurological deficits, effective parenting, other?S&L  family context, parenting, bonds (child and adult)





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Review Lifecourse Theories Review Sampson and Laub …