Wesley G. Jennings and Bryanna Hahn Fox
This chapter examines two patterns of change seen in individual offending behaviors at certain times and ages: acceleration or deceleration and escalation or de-escalation. In order to answer the questions regarding the age–crime curve and its applicability to the criminal careers of specific individuals, the prevalence of offending in the population and the frequency of offending within individual criminal careers must be examined through these patterns. Hence, the chapter begins with a brief review of the origin of the criminal career paradigm and a description of its various parameters. It then discusses both static and dynamic developmental and life-course theories of crime before providing a more in-depth discussion of acceleration/deceleration and escalation/de-escalation as it relates to a criminal career, respectively. Finally, this chapter concludes by offering directions for future research on these topics.
Adolescent Crime and Victimization: Sex and Gender Differences, Similarities, and Emerging Intersections
This essay examines sex/gender differences and similarities in offending and victimization among young people. Gender differences are pronounced for violent behaviors and smaller for minor property crime. Females have a greater risk of sexual victimization, while males have higher rates of other types of victimization. The essay examines how these patterns are influenced by status characteristics such as race, ethnicity, neighborhood, country, sexuality, immigration status, and social class. It also reviews a number of classical criminological explanations for sex/gender differences and similarities—general strain theory, social and self-control theories, symbolic interactionist perspectives, and social learning theories—as well as several intersectional approaches, including feminist perspectives, power-control theory, and relational schema theory. The essay concludes with a discussion of directions for future research.
Jennifer L. Woolard
Some form of delinquency is a normative part of adolescence for a majority of teens, yet the consequences of risky behavior and juvenile justice involvement can be severe. This article focuses on important aspects of adolescent delinquency and justice processing. It examines the cognitive factors which develop during adolescence, which illustrate that adolescents appear to perform comparably to adults by about the age of sixteen. Following this, it examines psychosocial factors of susceptibility to peer influence and future orientation and their continued development in the adolescent period. It also reviews the developing challenge of regulating emotions and affective responses that continues well into young adulthood. Finally, placing adolescents in their ecological context, it makes an attempt to describe how unique relationships between adolescents, parents, and the state present challenges for adolescents that no other age group faces in the legal system.
Simon I. Singer
Delinquency in adolescence is a known precursor to adult criminality. Nonetheless, the delinquencies of adolescents are generally considered irrelevant to adult white-collar crime. This chapter reviews reasons for why adolescence might matter to explanations of white-collar offending. It begins by defining white-collar delinquency as an act of fraud committed by a middle- or upper-class adolescent in his or her educational, familial, or workplace setting. Class, age, and gender are significant determinants of white-collar delinquencies. The chapter concludes with several cases of white-collar delinquency and survey data on its incidence.
James Bonta Ph.D. and J.S. Wormith Ph.D.
This chapter describes the developments that have occurred over the past three decades in the area of offender assessment and classification, including discussion of why offender classification is so vital to correctional agencies. The importance of using actuarial approaches to predicting the risk of reoffending and danger to others is discussed, as well as the inclusion of static and dynamic factors on composite measures of offender risk and need. Particular attention is paid to the application of the principles of Risk, Need, and Responsivity (RNR) to offender assessment, classification, and subsequent work with the offender, often described as “offender case management.” How prison environments (including inmate and officer subcultures) can potentially interfere with the accuracy of risk and needs assessments is also debated.
Patricia L. Brantingham, Paul J. Brantingham, Justin Song, and Valerie Spicer
This chapter discusses advances in visualization for environmental criminology. The environment within which people move has many dimensions that influence or constrain decisions and actions by individuals and by groups. This complexity creates a challenge for theoreticians and researchers in presenting their research results in a way that conveys the dynamic spatiotemporal aspects of crime and actions by offenders in a clearly understandable way. There is an increasing need in environmental criminology to use scientific visualization to convey research results. A visual image can describe underlying patterns in a way that is intuitively more understandable than text and numeric tables. The advent of modern information systems generating large and deep data sets (Big Data) provides researchers unparalleled possibilities for asking and answering questions about crime and the environment. This will require new techniques and methods for presenting findings and visualization will be key.
Kristen M. Zgoba
This essay begins with a review of public reaction to sexual offenses and the rise in social awareness that sex offenses have promoted. Statistics exploring the prevalence of sexual abuse in the United States and the United Kingdom will be given. As a result of a number of widely publicized sexual abuse cases (particularly child sexual abuse cases), a variety of laws applied to sexual offenders have been enacted from 1990 to 2010. Although different, these policies tend to center around four common themes: sex offender registration and notification, civil commitment, residency restrictions, and risk assessment. The essay examines these legislative efforts to assess their effectiveness at reducing sexually offensive behaviors and discusses the controversies surrounding such legislation.
Chester L. Britt
This chapter provides an alternative framework for thinking about the research on age and crime. It argues that, contrary to a popular view in the research literature that emphasizes differences, there is considerable commonality of findings on age and crime, regardless of the approach taken to its study. The chapter provides an overview of what is meant by the age–crime curve and distinguishes that from the age distribution of crime. Next, basic facts of the age-crime relationship are discussed, followed by explanations of that relationship. The chapter then discusses the issue of whether individual age–crime curves fit the aggregate pattern and, finally, provides an illustration of how varying assumptions of the age–crime curve affect aggregate patterns using simulations.
Elaine Eggleston Doherty and Sarah Bacon
This chapter first provides an overview of the empirical observations that have shaped the age-of-onset research. It approaches these empirical observations as the central “facts” regarding age of onset that must be taken into account in any discussion of the criminal career. The chapter then discusses these empirical observations in their relation to the definitions and measurement of age of onset and to the theoretical approaches to understanding and explaining age of onset. It also discusses the importance and implications of age-of-onset research for prevention and intervention purposes. For each of these areas of consideration the chapter provides an overview and a critical analysis of extant research, followed by critical unanswered questions.
John H. Laub, Zachary R. Rowan, and Robert J. Sampson
This chapter turns to the age-graded theory of informal social control. This theory posits that crime is more likely to occur when an individual's bond to conventional society is weakened. This chapter briefly considers Sampson and Laub’s Crime in the Making before providing a summary of the revised version of the theory in Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives. It then provides an updated theoretical and empirical assessment of the core principles of the theory, namely a review of current research on turning points and human agency. The chapter next details current challenges to the importance of turning points in adulthood and reviews contemporary barriers to mechanisms of desistance. The chapter concludes with some commentary and final thoughts on the theory.