Developmental by gZkWBqI

VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 9

									Developmental criminology
Age, life course and crime
   THE DATA
     – Crime rates rise rapidly through adolescence
     – Peak in late teens to early twenties
     – Decline steadily afterwards
   How does this square with criminological theory?
     – Most theories propose that biological, psychological or social
       factors cause crime
     – Developmental (age-based) theory suggests that different factors
       may have different effects at different ages
          When a person begins to commit crime
          Whether a person continues to commit crime or stops
Two explanations for the data –
criminal propensity and criminal career
   “Criminal propensity” view – Hirschi and Gottfredson
     – Differences between individuals shape their propensity to commit crime
     – Propensity fairly stable after age 5; may be affected by external
        circumstances / opportunities
     – As offenders age their numbers stay the same, but they slow down
           Commit fewer crimes
           May mature out of crime
   “Criminal career” view – Blumstein and Cohen
     – Small proportion of offenders commit the majority of crime
     – Different variables may explain behavior at different ages
           Whether (yes/no) someone commits crime
           Frequency and duration of criminal activity
     – Number of offenders goes down over time
           Those who keep offending (become career criminals) commit crimes at
             the same rate as before
Research approaches

   Criminal propensity -- cross-sectional research
     – Since age/crime relationship does not vary (after age 5) no need to
        track individuals over time
     – Cross-sectional research
           Use existing data
           Compare individuals one time, retrospectively
   Criminal career -- longitudinal research
     – Follows individuals over time
     – Allows better study of causation
           Cross-sectional only allows correlation studies
     – Longitudinal establishes order of variables -- which came first
           Did a factor believed to affect crime (e.g., age, grades in
            school, etc.) come before changes in offending?
Early research findings

   Criminal propensity
     – Propensity -- number of offenders stable, but they slow down
     – Findings #1 (Rowe et al) -- criminal propensity trait closely
        resembled the actual distribution of crime in four cities
     – Findings #2 (O’Brien et al) -- Differences in homicide rate for youths
        between 1960 and 1995
           explained by high proportion of births to unwed mothers and
            few resources available to children
           crime thereafter followed the age-crime curve
   Criminal career
     – Career -- number of offenders declines over time, but a small pool
        (career criminals) keeps offending at the same rate
     – Findings (Simons et al) -- changes in parenting, quality of schooling
        and association with delinquent peers come before changes in
        behavior
Cambridge Study -- Piquero et al.

   British longitudinal study of 411 males born in 1953
     – Followed 30 years, from 1963 to 1993, ages 10 to 40.
   Findings (published 2007)
     – By age 40 most had desisted from crime
           Consistent with criminal propensity position
           Did not find small subset with permanent high crime rates
             (note: this was a very small group)
     – Four key variables distinguish between offenders and others
           Low achievement
           Poor parental child-rearing
           Impulsivity
           Poverty
     – Early prevention crucial
Thornberry’s interactional theory –
Combines control and social learning

   Most theories flawed because unidirectional
     –   Thornberry makes them recursive  and time-dependent
   Controls operating through social constraints are most important
     –   Attachment to parents, commitment to school, belief in conventional values
     –   An interactive setting where crime is learned, performed and reinforced
     –   Association with D’s, adopting D values, engaging in D behavior
   Delinquent behavior is reciprocal
     –   “Delinquency eventually becomes its own cause”
            Delinquency negatively influences attachment, commitment and belief
   Few disparities as children age
     –   Early adolescence (11-13): None
     –   Middle (15-16)
            Attachment to parents plays smaller role
            Delinquent values may solidify – gain influence
     –   Late (18-20)
            New control issues in effect
            Commitment to conventional activity (work, college, military, family, kids)
Sampson and Laub –
Age-graded theory of informal social control

   Data from Glueck’s 40-year cohort of 500 D’s and 500 non-D’s
   Explanation for delinquency centers on family
     –   Erratic and harsh discipline
     –   Mother’s lack of supervision
     –   Parent/child acceptance/rejection
   Family factors may be influenced by structural variables
     –   Low SES, crowding
     –   Parent’s criminality
     –   Family size and disruption
   Delinquency “closes doors”
     –   Reduces opportunities for positive life changes
     –   Reduces likelihood of positive adult social bonds
   Delinquency best predicts adult criminality, but most delinquents don’t become criminals
     –   Interaction between crime & informal social controls continues into adulthood
     –   Change of life course (jobs, marriage, new friends) can lead to increased “social
         capital” and overcome delinquency’s “closed door” effect
     –   Developing strong social bonds as an adult reduces likelihood of crime and deviance
Tremblay - developmental origin of
physical aggression

   Concern with preadolescent development
   Aggression develops in first two years of life
     – Increases substantially from nine months to four years, then rate
        decreases for most
     – But for a minority the rate keeps increasing
   Theory: aggression may be innate
     – It’s non-aggression that must be learned
   Children must learn alternatives when very young
     – Not tolerate physical aggression
     – Reward pro-social behavior
     – Improve ability to delay gratification
     – Improve verbal skills

								
To top