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.
Paul M.G. Emmelkamp and Fleur L. Kraanen
Substance use and criminal behaviour often go hand in hand, and sexual crimes are no exception. This essay on alcohol and drug use in relation to sexual offending aims to provide a brief overview of the relevant literature on this topic. An important difficulty that arises when discussing the relationship between substance misuse and sexual offending is that both sex offenses and substance misuse are very broadly defined categories. Sex offenses may comprise rape, child molestation, and downloading child pornography, to name a few. The nature of the relationship between substance use and sex offenses may vary for different types of sex offenses.
Karol Lucken and Thomas G. Blomberg
This article outlines the corrections system of America. It traces the history of the corrections system and offers some observations on what led to the massive prison buildup. It considers the possibility that the core of the problem is the inconsistencies in practice and ideology, which helped create a system that is not only contradictory and volatile, but indecisive and regressive. This article concludes that a well-balanced justice system can be attained by better using criminological and scientific knowledge.
Michael Tonry and Harriet Bildsten
This article discusses antisocial behavior orders (ASBOs) in England and Wales and recent U.S. policies based on the broken windows hypothesis. The broken windows hypothesis and its policy progeny and ASBOs implicate different categories of troubling behavior, each of which raises distinct normative and policy issues. It discusses developments and related research. The important questions about ASBOs are the reduction of the prevalence of antisocial behavior, the concern of people with respect to them, and the costs they entail. With broken windows, the important issues are the correctness of the slippery slope hypothesis, the contribution of police initiatives to the crime rate, and the justification of the collateral costs of new policing policies. The article discusses a series of normative and policy issues.
Gray Cavender and Nancy Jurik
This chapter provides an overview of the longevity and popular appeal of the crime genre and its relevance to the field of criminology. In our discussion we include such media as novels, television programs, and films that present fictionalized stories about crime, its investigation, and its solutions. We offer a brief history of the crime genre, indicators of its popularity, and a review of expert opinions explaining its appeal. Then we discuss evidence from conversations and surveys that we conducted with academics and other professionals as well as with students about their views of and engagement with crime genre productions. Our data suggest the myriad ways in which audiences actively engage crime fiction.
Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden
This essay provides a brief overview of arms trafficking, its participants and enabling partners, and the prospects of a reduction in arms trafficking through various legal mechanisms. It looks at two prominent arms traffickers—Viktor Bout and Leonid Minin—to illustrate these discussions. The trade in arms becomes arms trafficking when the deals undertaken violate existing laws on the movement of arms. These laws usually take the form of domestic licensing requirements or international arms embargoes. Arms trafficking is a complex multifaceted crime, and it can involve numerous discrete crimes over and above breaking arms sanctions, including, but not limited to, fraud, corruption, money laundering, smuggling, intimidation, and murder. Arms trafficking is undertaken in the context of the global trade in arms, made up of the formal world of legal trade and the “shadow world” of illegal transactions. Often actors operate in both worlds, and both can be mutually supportive in various ways. The number of collaborators involved in assisting arms traffickers means that successful prosecution of these traffickers is incredibly rare: of more than 500 United Nations arms embargo violations, only one participant has ever been convicted. The prospects for an end to arms trafficking are bleak. Not only are existing legal mechanisms flimsy, there seems to be little political will to develop an international framework that would help legal authorities pursue law-breakers. In addition, many countries are already awash in arms, providing ample opportunity for individuals to easily establish themselves as arms traffickers.
Michael Cherbonneau and Richard Wright
This article reviews our current knowledge about automobile theft. It defines crime and outlines its prevalence. It further examines the social and economic consequences of auto theft and deals with patterns of auto theft in the United States and elsewhere. Auto theft is found to be an activity of greater salience among the socially advantaged. It moves on with the discussion of forms of motor vehicle theft, including various types of offenders and offender motivations. It includes discussion about victim and offender characteristics, correlates of victimization risk, and types of vehicles stolen and motor vehicle theft offenders. Finally, it examines the ways of controlling auto theft, concluding with a discussion of policy-relevant issues and directions for future research.
Richard B. Felson
This essay suggests that activist rhetoric and imprecise language should be discarded when studying gender and violence. Violence against women should be compared to violence against men and not studied in isolation. It should be studied primarily as violence not sexism, based on well-established principles from the social psychology of aggression. Such an approach emphasizes the violent actor’s point of view and the role of interpersonal conflict, self-presentation, grievance, and retribution. Power and control may play a role in violence against men and women, but other motives are also important. In addition, theorizing should consider well-known sex differences in physical size, sexuality, and emotion. Men’s stronger bodies and sexual interests, and women’s greater tendency to get angry, have important implications. Finally, chivalry should be an important element in any discussion of violence against women. Violence against women occurs despite (not because of) societal norms.
The Benefits and Penalties of Gender for Criminal Justice Processing Outcomes Among Adults and Juveniles
Theodore R. Curry
This essay examines recent research on gender and criminal justice processing outcomes and makes three broad conclusions. First, the benefits of gender that accrue to female offenders are general, appearing for juveniles and adults, across a variety of offenses and decision-making points, independent of race or ethnicity, and even internationally. Second, the gender penalty paid by male offenders is greatest for young black and Hispanic men. Third, outcomes are harsher when crime victims are female, especially white female, and when offenders are also male. These conclusions are largely consistent with proposed integrations of focal concerns theory with chivalry and conflict theories. Substantial gaps, however, remain for key issues such as whether being “familied” explains gender benefits and whether gender influences outcomes for status offenses. Furthermore, research on how the crime victim’s gender affects criminal justice processing is limited. Clearly, though, gender has substantial impacts on processing outcomes that merit increased theoretical and empirical attention.
Gabrielle Ferrales and Suzy Maves McElrath
Gender-based violence is one of the oldest sustaining features of war but has received significant scholarly attention only in the past two decades. Much of this work, however, focuses selectively on sexual violence, specifically rape by men against women. Mirroring the focus of recent social science research, this essay reviews the treatment of gender-based violence during recent and ongoing conflicts, identifying three theoretical paradigms that offer explanations for this violence based on gender inequality theory, social control theory, and strategies of warfare. The essay recommends that future researchers employ a more expansive conception of gender-based violence, deconstruct the dichotomous understanding of victim and perpetrator, and afford greater attention to the role of intersectionality in explaining gender-based violence during war. Such a reconceptualization will advance our understanding of the multitude forms gender-based violence assumes during armed conflict and facilitate more adequate theoretical explanations for the phenomenon.
Jill Portnoy, Frances R. Chen, Yu Gao, Sharon Niv, Robert A. Schug, Yaling Yang, and Adrian Raine
This essay reviews research in the domains of genetics, structural brain imaging, neuropsychology, psychophysiology, and hormones in order to examine (a) whether the same risk factors that are characteristic of antisocial behavior in males are also associated with these behaviors in females and (b) whether biological sex differences could underlie the sex difference in antisocial behavior. Only a few studies examine the biological correlates of antisocial behavior in females, but they find that many of the same biological risk factors appear to characterize both male and female behavior. There is also suggestive evidence that sex differences in biological factors underlie sex differences in antisocial behavior, although candidate biological factors have been subjected to little empirical testing. In general, there is promising evidence that biosocial research could make important contributions to our understanding of sex differences in antisocial behavior.