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.
Competence and Criminal Responsibility in Adolescent Defendants: The Roles of Mental Illness and Adolescent Development
Jodi Viljoen, Erika Penner, and Ronald Roesch
The law has required that adult defendants cannot be tried unless they have an ability to understand and participate adequately in legal proceedings against them. Another legal protection for mentally ill defendants is insanity defense or criminal responsibility laws. Historically these legal protections were not applied to adolescents tried in juvenile court. The purpose of this article is to examine the application of competence and criminal responsibility laws to adolescents, with a focus on some of the challenges that have arisen. It discusses relevant legal standards and the role of mental illness and developmental immaturity and highlights the implications for courts, attorneys, and mental health clinicians. At the present time, many issues pertaining to potentially incompetent and not guilty by reason of insanity adolescents remain undecided. There is a need for further research on the characteristics and needs of these adolescents and appropriate assessment and treatment approaches.
David P. Farrington, Lila Kazemian, and Alex R. Piquero
This concluding chapter summarizes current knowledge about developmental and life-course criminology based on the previous chapters, reviews some areas in need of further research, and makes some recommendations about how future research can address these gaps in current knowledge. It shows how a great deal is known about risk factors for offending in general (especially for the prevalence of offending), but less is known about risk factors for specific criminal career features, such as the age of onset, the frequency of offending per year, and so on. The chapter discusses the limitations and challenges to current research and provides some recommendations for research that can expand on the topics already covered in this volume. Finally, this chapter suggests some methods for further research. It also provides some examples of studies undertaken along these lines.
Jobina Li and Cameron McIntosh
This chapter provides a cost-benefit analysis of developmental crime prevention. From a life-course perspective, developmental prevention offers an intriguing solution to address growing concerns regarding current criminal justice practices, given the growing body of research that suggests that this type of intervention is both results-oriented and fiscally responsible. To this end, this chapter lays out the case for the economics of developmental crime prevention. It next provides an overview of the methodological basis, and related considerations, of a cost-benefit analysis, which assigns monetary values to program outcomes relative to program costs so as to provide an estimate of the financial return on investment. The chapter then reviews the leading cost-benefit analysis studies in developmental crime prevention today and offers a glimpse at the future of such research.
Tamara M. Haegerich and Patrick H. Tolan
Youth who engage in delinquent acts are often more troubled than even their most antisocial behavior suggests. Much criminal behavior can be attributed to a child psychiatric disorder. Mental disorders are often seen in delinquent youth, and this relationship is known as comorbidity. Comorbid disorders may be different manifestations of the same disorder. This article reviews the existing evidence of comorbidity of delinquency with common disorders, the delinquent youth suffer from, including substance abuse and substance dependence, depression, etc. Methodological difficulties in assessing the comorbidity of delinquency and other disorders challenge the understanding of the issue and these are highlighted. It then discusses implications and new directions for research. Finally, it describes implications for juvenile justice policy, emphasizing the responsibility of the justice system for identifying and treating delinquent youth with comorbid disorders.
Sarah Anderson and Fergus McNeill
This chapter reviews the state of current knowledge on cognitive transformations in the desistance process. It considers transformations in the content of cognitions: changing pro-criminal attitudes, changing meanings of and emotions surrounding criminal behavior, and the importance of motivation and hope. The chapter also considers transformations in cognitive skills that enable the person trying to desist to act upon the intentions they have formed. It argues that an integrated theory of the desistance process must include an understanding of all these cognitive transformations. In developing this argument, this chapter challenges narrowly psychological-criminological theories—more particularly their recent applications in offender treatment. Finally, we suggest that further and more methodologically robust empirical exploration of the chronological sequencing of a range of life events and cognitive changes will be critical to developing our understanding of desistance from crime.
Lila Kazemian, David P. Farrington, and Alex R. Piquero
This chapter provides a brief overview of developmental and life-course criminology. These approaches are concerned with the study of the development of offending over the course of one's life, from onset to persistence and, eventually, desistance. Although these two theoretical approaches share many common features, they have distinctive focal concerns. Stemming from the field of sociology, the life-course perspective focuses attention on social structure and life events. The developmental approach, on the other hand, stems from the field of psychology and generally emphasizes the role of individual and psychological factors in the explanation of developmental processes. Moreover, the developmental approach investigates the onset of offending as well as the role of early risk and protective factors in the explanation of future offending. Meanwhile, the life-course framework examines the influence of turning points in offending trajectories and in the process of desistance from crime.
Lisa M. Broidy and Carleen M. Thompson
This chapter builds on theoretical insights from the gendered pathways literature to interpret the evidence regarding the influence of gender on life-course offending patterns. It summarizes the key theoretical models explaining female offending and highlights what should be the central theoretical principles that guide research on gender and life-course offending patterns. The chapter then describes the most prominent life-course offending patterns, how females sort into these patterns, what we know about the relevant correlates, and how these vary across gender. In each instance the chapter also applies core theoretical principles to help make sense of evident patterns. This chapter concludes with a call for more research on the theoretical mechanisms that might account for life-course patterns of female offending and the ways in which these patterns diverge from those evidenced by males.
Francis T. Cullen, Michael L. Benson, and Matthew D. Makarios
Most of the traditional theories of crime only focused on one stage in life, namely the teenage years, because criminologists believed that adolescence was the period when participation in illegal activities increased. This resulted in a wide range of “theories of delinquency” in criminology. This article studies several developmental and life-course theories that help in understanding crime across the lives of people. One of these is Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi's claim that steady criminal behavior across life is caused by low self-control, a characteristic that was established during childhood. Another is the perspective, labeling theory, which warns that efforts to prevent people from offending can lead to an increase in criminality.
Deborah Gorman-Smith and Alana M. Vivolo
This article discusses female delinquency and offending. It reviews some related literature in order to update the prevention efforts. The first section presents data on the rates and patterns of offending among girls and shows how these have developed over the years. It then studies the predictors and correlates of involvement among females that should be considered whenever prevention programs are developed and implemented. This article also tries to determine if interventions for girls have had any program impact and if there is any difference on the impact between interventions directed towards girls and boys.
Helene Raskin White
This chapter investigates how substance use might increase the risk of offending with an emphasis on developmental trajectories of substance use and their influence on offending. It describes three models that explain how substance use directly influences criminal offending: the psychopharmacological model, the economic motivation model, and the socio-environmental/contextual model. The chapter then provides an overview of empirical studies examining developmental influences of substance use on criminal behavior. First, studies examining contemporaneous and lagged associations are briefly summarized. Then, studies that have examined how trajectories of alcohol and marijuana use predict later criminal offending are reviewed, along with a brief discussion of the effects of substance use on desistance and persistence of criminal offending. Last, the chapter recommends areas for future research.