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.
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.
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.
Melissa Peskin, Yu Gao, Andrea L. Glenn, Anna Rudo-Hutt, Yaling Yang, and Adrian Raine
Numerous studies carried out over the past two decades suggest that several biological risk factors significantly increase the likelihood for people to commit crime and violence across the lifespan. Researchers trying to understand the relationship between biology and crime have focused on criminal offenders, individuals who display high rates of violent or aggressive behaviors, and those with psychiatric disorders with a strong correlation to criminal behavior, such as psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder. This article summarizes research findings linking neurobiological risk factors with a predisposition to crime, focusing on six domains: genetics, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, psychophysiology, endocrinology and neurotransmitters, and early health risks.
Olivia Choy, Jill Portnoy, Adrian Raine, Rheanna J. Remmel, Robert Schug, Catherine Tuvblad, and Yaling Yang
This chapter presents major biological and biosocial findings in relation to the development of offending. It reviews empirical findings on the association between two psychophysiological factors, heart rate and skin conductance, and offending. The chapter then discusses the heritability of antisocial behavior and the contribution of genetics to the understanding of developmental trajectories, stability, and change in offending. The structural and functional brain abnormalities in antisocial individuals across different age groups are then discussed, along with research on hormones and neurotransmitters. Next, the chapter highlights the applications of neuropsychology in the understanding of offending across the life span and reviews research on pre- and perinatal factors related to later offending. It concludes with potential areas for future research.
Christopher J. Sullivan
Over the past twenty years, the developmental, life-course framework has emerged as an important means of understanding crime and delinquency. A number of studies tend to focus more on factors that contribute to onset and continuance of criminal careers than their stoppage. Some argue that criminology has fixated too much on trying to elucidate longitudinal offending patterns as series of preordained events playing out over time based on exogenous individual differences. Research has identified a good deal of stability in antisocial behavior and its underlying causes across portions of offenders' lives, along with a fair degree of within-individual change. In 2001, John H. Laub and Robert J. Sampson suggested that desistance, the primary indicator of change in criminal behavior, is the modal pattern in individual offending careers. That observation has become the basis for an empirical benchmark used to evaluate theoretical explanations for offending over the life course. This article highlights ways that developmental, life-course criminologists might enhance their understanding of change.
Sarah B. van Mastrigt and Peter Carrington
This chapter reviews existing theory and empirical evidence on changes in co-offending patterns over the life course, links these patterns to other key criminal career parameters, and highlights important areas for future research. In order to set the stage for the remainder of the chapter, the few theoretical insights that relate joint offending to the development of criminal careers are first reviewed. The chapter then focuses on the age–co-offending curve, outlining what is known about changes in both co-offending prevalence and form across the life course and considering implications for more general developmental and life-course discussions of age and offending. It next examines how co-offending is related to other features of the criminal career, including onset, specialization, seriousness, frequency, duration, persistence, and desistance. Finally, this chapter briefly outlines outstanding issues and next steps for advancing DLC theory and research on group crime.
This chapter discusses evidence-based treatments that include cognitive-behavioral interventions to target offending. It briefly describes the theoretical principles of cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) and then presents an overview of some of the most effective programs in criminological settings. Next, the chapter considers how the recognition of criminal behavior as multidetermined by a multiplicity of factors and criminogenic needs requires multi-modal types of treatment to respond to the complexity of aspects involved in its onset and its persistence. A critical analysis of research findings is presented by looking first at some of the variations in CBT interventions and then by exploring the X factor of their effectiveness. Finally, this chapter refers to the risk-need-responsivity (RNR) model, which integrates scientific accuracy with integrity.