Criminology Criminal Career Research
by
Lila Kazemian
  • LAST REVIEWED: 17 May 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0059

Introduction

Criminal career research is concerned with changes in offending patterns over time. In 1983, the National Academy of Sciences convened the Panel on Research on Criminal Careers, which led to an abundance of research dedicated to the study of criminal careers. The body of knowledge in this area of study has developed greatly over the course of the past two decades. Criminal career research has also generated some debate about key issues relevant to the study of offending behavior, namely the age-crime distribution, the relevance of longitudinal data, and the need to distinguish between several criminal career parameters.

General Overviews

To date, the most essential reading in criminal career research is Blumstein, et al. 1986, the two-volume report of the Panel on Research on Criminal Careers, which was created by the National Academy of Sciences in 1983. The report offers an extensive overview of criminal career research, a thorough explanation of various dimensions of the criminal career, and key recommendations for future research. For a more updated and recent source, Piquero, et al. 2003 presents a fairly comprehensive review of classic and contemporary criminal career studies. Thornberry and Krohn 2003 summarizes empirical findings from seven major longitudinal studies of crime and delinquency and identifies some important findings relating to the development of criminal careers. Weitekamp and Kerner 1994 offers a similar summary, with the added feature of a cross-national comparison. In an analysis of offending across the life-course for two samples of adjudicated and representative French Canadian males, Le Blanc and Fréchette 1989 presents key findings in relation to the major criminal career parameters. Blumstein, et al. 1988a and Blumstein, et al. 1988b also review some of the important findings in criminal career research and address some of the critiques aimed at this paradigm.

  • Blumstein, Alfred, Jacqueline Cohen, Jeffrey A. Roth, and Christy A. Visher, eds. 1986. Criminal careers and “career criminals.” 2 vols. Panel on Research on Career Criminals, Committee on Research on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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    Published by the National Academy of Sciences’ Panel on Research on Criminal Careers, these two volumes are essential readings in criminal career research. They include a comprehensive overview of the various dimensions of criminal careers. This source is appropriate for advanced graduate-level courses and is indispensable to any researcher interested in criminal career research.

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    • Blumstein, Alfred, Jacqueline Cohen, and David P. Farrington. 1988a. Criminal career research: Its value for criminology. Criminology 26:1–36.

      DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00829.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      The first of two articles in an issue of Criminology addressing the debate surrounding the criminal career paradigm. The authors address several issues relevant to criminal careers, including the importance of criminal career research for theory and policy and interpretations of the age-crime curve.

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      • Blumstein, Alfred, Jacqueline Cohen, and David P. Farrington. 1988b. Longitudinal and criminal career research: Further clarifications. Criminology 26:57–74.

        DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00831.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        The second article by Blumstein, et al. promoting the relevance of the criminal career paradigm. Issues discussed include the distinction between prevalence and incidence, patterns of escalation in criminal careers, and the use of longitudinal versus cross-sectional designs.

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        • Le Blanc, Marc, and Marcel Fréchette. 1989. Male criminal activity from childhood through youth: Multilevel and developmental perspectives. New York: Springer-Verlag.

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          The first major (English) text reporting results from the Montreal Two Samples Longitudinal Study. Although this source is somewhat outdated (a revised edition is in progress), key criminal career parameters are clearly explained. It is suitable for courses and researchers of all levels.

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          • Piquero, Alex, David P. Farrington, and Alfred Blumstein. 2003. The criminal career paradigm. In Crime and justice: A review of research, vol. 30. Edited by Michael Tonry, 359–506. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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            A review of criminal career research and a summary of key results. Includes an overview of some of the major studies on criminal careers. The chapter also discusses theoretical and policy relevance of criminal career research and offers recommendations for future research. Probably best suited for graduate-level courses.

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            • Thornberry, Terence P., and Marvin D. Krohn, eds. 2003. Taking stock of delinquency: An overview of findings from contemporary longitudinal studies. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

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              Provides detailed descriptions of seven major ongoing longitudinal studies of offending. Chapters provide a description of each study and summarize key findings on various topics, including the development of offending and criminal career progression. Appropriate for researchers and students of all levels.

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              • Weitekamp, Elmar G.M., and Hans-Jürgen Kerner. 1994. Cross-national longitudinal research on human development and criminal behavior. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                Edited volume reviewing some of the major international longitudinal studies. Topics of interest are diverse and include several dimensions of criminal careers, such as age of onset, participation, frequency, and desistance.

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                Data Sources

                Because the study of criminal careers requires data about offending collected over time, most research in this area has been conducted in the context of longitudinal studies. Public data is generally available through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). The related literature available on ICPSR also provides additional information about publications produced on the basis of the data of interest. Some of the major longitudinal data available online include the California Youth Authority, the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, the National Youth Survey, the Philadelphia Birth Cohort study (first cohort and second cohort), Jacqueline Cohen’s Incapacitation Effects of Incarcerating Drug Offenders study, and the Gluecks’ Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency study. The data from these studies have been analyzed in various publications to examine different dimensions of the criminal career, including lambda, persistence, duration of criminal careers, and desistance.

                Major Criminal Career Studies

                Criminal career studies, similarly to developmental and life-course research, have predominantly relied on longitudinal data. Wolfgang, et al. 1972 is a classic volume that offers a thorough description of findings from the first cohort of the Philadelphia Birth Cohort study (see Data Sources). Another study of this nature is Tracy, et al. 1990, with a second Philadelphia cohort. Key findings from the National Youth Survey (see Data Sources) can be found in Elliott, et al. 1989, which is one of the major texts describing the National Youth Survey. Le Blanc and Fréchette 1989 analyzes various criminal career parameters in their study of offending across the life-course for two samples of adjudicated and representative French Canadian males. Although several manuscripts were produced toward the beginning phases of each study (many of which remain classic readings in the field), more recent publications have presented updated findings resulting from the ongoing data collection. Laub and Sampson 2003 offers the most recent and comprehensive analysis of the Gluecks’ classic follow-up of five hundred adjudicated and five hundred representative Boston males, and it also investigates criminal career trajectories. Farrington 2003 summarizes findings from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (see Data Sources), with data collected over a forty-year period. Loeber, et al. 2003 offers a similar summary on key results from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, with various sections on dimensions of the criminal career.

                • Elliott, Delbert S., David Huizinga, and Scott Menard. 1989. Multiple problem youth: Delinquency, substance use, and mental health problems. New York: Springer-Verlag.

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                  Provides a description of the National Youth Survey and discusses some important findings from this follow-up of 1,725 youths. Analyses include both self-reported and official offending information. The data from this study has produced numerous publications.

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                  • Farrington, David P. 2003. Key results from the first forty years of the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development. In Taking stock of delinquency: An overview of findings from contemporary longitudinal studies. Edited by Terence P. Thornberry and Marvin D. Krohn, 137–183. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

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                    Offers a thorough description of the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, a prospective longitudinal survey of 411 males from a working-class area of London. Summarizes key results relating to criminal careers patterns over a forty-year period, as well as explanations for variations in these trajectories.

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                    • Laub, John H., and Robert J. Sampson. 2003. Shared beginnings, divergent lives: Delinquent boys to age 70. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                      The second major reanalysis of the Glueck data, including a longer follow-up of the study participants, an analysis of criminal career trajectories, and an investigation of patterns of continuity in criminal careers.

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                      • Le Blanc, Marc, and Marcel Fréchette. 1989. Male criminal activity from childhood through youth: Multilevel and developmental perspectives. New York: Springer-Verlag.

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                        Offers an explanation and analyses of various dimensions of the criminal career. Results are contrasted between the adjudicated and representative samples of the Montreal Two Samples Longitudinal Study, with clear and concise explanations of criminal career parameters.

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                        • Loeber, Rolf, David P. Farrington, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, Terrie E. Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi, Helene Raskin White, Evelyn H. Wei, and Jennifer M. Beyers. 2003. The development of male offending: Key findings from fourteen years of the Pittsburgh Youth Study. In Taking stock of delinquency: An overview of findings from contemporary longitudinal studies. Edited by Terence P. Thornberry and Marvin D. Krohn, 93–136. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

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                          Presents various results from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, a longitudinal follow-up of about 1,500 Pittsburgh boys aged between seven and thirteen years old. Results pertaining to the development of offending and criminal careers are included in several sections.

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                          • Tracy, Paul E., Marvin E. Wolfgang, and Robert M. Figlio. 1990. Delinquency careers in two birth cohorts. New York: Plenum.

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                            Presents findings from the second cohort of the Philadelphia Birth Cohort study, which included 27,160 Philadelphia males and females born in 1958. Compares results from the first (born in 1945) and second Philadelphia cohorts. Criminal career trends are examined.

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                            • Wolfgang, Marvin E., Robert M. Figlio, and Thorsten Sellin. 1972. Delinquency in a birth cohort. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                              Presents findings from the first cohort of the Philadelphia Birth Cohort study, which included 9,945 Philadelphia males born in 1945. One of the most notable findings from this study is the identification of a small proportion of offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of offending behavior.

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                              Dimensions of Active Criminal Careers

                              The various parameters of active criminal careers have been discussed in a variety of empirical as well as theoretical studies investigating criminal career patterns and trajectories. These include age of onset, frequency, versatility, seriousness, duration, and desistance. The key findings for each of these dimensions are summarized in Piquero, et al. 2003 (see General Overviews).

                              Onset

                              A large body of research has demonstrated that early onset is associated with various other dimensions of criminal careers. Farrington, et al. 1990 reviews research on the onset of offending and discusses the relevance of this topic in the prediction of criminal career outcomes. Piquero, et al. 1999 tests the relationship between early onset and offending versatility. Farrington and Hawkins 1991 assesses the degree of consistency in the predictors of participation, early onset, and persistence in crime. Nagin and Farrington 1992 discusses two interpretations for the negative association between age of onset and criminal persistence, namely the state dependence and persistent heterogeneity explanations. Although most attention has been focused on the impact of early onset on criminal career outcomes, Zara and Farrington 2009 explores the predictors of late onset. Other studies have raised the issue of measurement of age of onset. Farrington, et al. 2003 contrasts characteristics of offending trends (including onset) between self-reports and court records of offending. Kazemian and Farrington 2005 compares the validity of age of onset as reported in prospective and retrospective accounts, as well as official records.

                              • Farrington, David P., Rolf Loeber, Delbert S. Elliott, J. David Hawkins, Denis B. Kandel, Malcolm W. Klein, Joan McCord, David C. Rowe, and Richard E. Tremblay. 1990. Advancing knowledge about the onset of delinquency and crime. In Advances in clinical and child psychology, vol. 13. Edited by Benjamin B. Lahey and Alan E. Kazdin, 283–342. New York: Plenum.

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                                Provides an overview of the state of knowledge about age of onset, as well as the relationship between onset and other criminal career parameters. Includes a discussion of theories relevant to the explanation of the onset of delinquency. Also addresses the issue of early versus late onset.

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                                • Farrington, David P., Darrick Jolliffe, J. David Hawkins, Richard F. Catalano, Karl G. Hill, and Rick L. Kosterman.2003. Comparing delinquency careers in court records and self-reports. Criminology 41:933–958.

                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2003.tb01009.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Using data from the Seattle Social Development Project, this study contrasts various criminal career parameters (including age of onset) between self-reports of offending and court records. The article shows that different methods of measurement may yield different results about age of onset and other features of the criminal career.

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                                  • Farrington, David P., and J. David Hawkins. 1991. Predicting participation, early onset, and later persistence in officially recorded offending. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health 1:1–33.

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                                    Investigates the degree of consistency in the predictors of three distinct dimensions of the criminal career (participation, onset, and persistence). Analyses include contrasts between early and late onset of official offending.

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                                    • Kazemian, Lila, and David P. Farrington. 2005. Comparing the validity of prospective, retrospective, and official onset for different offending categories. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 21:127–147.

                                      DOI: 10.1007/s10940-005-2489-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      Compares the degree of consistency in ages of onset reported in prospective and retrospective self-reports and examines the extent to which these accounts agree with ages of onset measured in official records. Data is analyzed from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development.

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                                      • Nagin, Daniel S., and David P. Farrington. 1992. The onset and persistence of offending. Criminology 32:501–523.

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                                        An empirical test of the relationship between age of onset and future offending. One of the key questions raised relates to whether age of onset exerts a causal effect on criminal persistence. Also investigates the degree of similarity between the predictors of onset and persistence.

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                                        • Piquero, Alex, Raymond Paternoster, Paul Mazerolle, Robert Brame, and Charles W. Dean. 1999. Onset age and offense specialization. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 36:275–299.

                                          DOI: 10.1177/0022427899036003002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          Employs data from the second Philadelphia Birth Cohort study to assess the relationship between age of onset and offender versatility. The effect of age on the onset-versatility association is also addressed.

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                                          • Zara, Georgia, and David P. Farrington. 2009. Childhood and adolescent predictors of late onset criminal careers. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 38:287–300.

                                            DOI: 10.1007/s10964-008-9350-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            Employs data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development to compare the psychological, behavioral, and social characteristics of late onset offenders with those of early onset offenders and nonoffenders.

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                                            Frequency

                                            Most longitudinal studies (see Major Criminal Career Studies) have provided information about the offending frequency of respondents in their respective samples, as well as patterns of change in offending frequency with age (acceleration or deceleration). Using event and crime calendars, Horney and Marshall 1991 estimates short-term (month-to-month) variations in offending rates among a sample of Nebraska offenders. When prospective longitudinal studies have not been available to provide specific descriptions of criminal career parameters, there have been various attempts to estimate individual offending frequency (or lambda) from aggregate data. Blumstein and Cohen 1979 provides estimates of lambda using arrests records from Washington, DC. In a frequently cited study using the RAND Inmate Survey, Chaiken and Chaiken 1982 develops a model that seeks to accurately predict high-frequency offenders. Barnett, et al. 1987 develops a probabilistic model of criminal careers that categorizes offenders into two distinct groups, “occasionals” and “frequents,” based on values for lambda. Spelman 1994 offers a useful summary of key findings on offending frequency. There has been some debate around the issue of whether the age-crime curve reflects changes in participation rates or declines in the frequency of active offenders. Some of this discussion can be found in Blumstein, et al. 1988 and Gottfredson and Hirschi 1988, both published in a special issue of Criminology. Piquero and Blumstein 2007 underlines some of the limitations of studies that have estimated lambda.

                                            • Barnett, Arnold, Alfred Blumstein, and David P. Farrington. 1987. Probabilistic models of youthful criminal careers. Criminology 25:83–107.

                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1987.tb00790.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              Using data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, the authors estimate a probabilistic model of criminal careers and identify two distinct groups of offenders (“occasionals” and “frequents”), based on rates of offending. Descriptions of both groups are provided.

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                                              • Blumstein, Alfred, and Jacqueline Cohen. 1979. Estimation of individual crime rates from arrest records. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 70:561–585.

                                                DOI: 10.2307/1142642Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                Provides estimates of lambda based on arrest records of individuals arrested in Washington, DC, in 1973. Analysis includes individuals arrested for homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, or auto theft. One of the controversial findings from this study is that lambda does not necessarily decline precipitously with age for individuals who remain active in crime.

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                                                • Blumstein, Alfred, Jacqueline Cohen, and David P. Farrington. 1988. Criminal career research: Its value for criminology. Criminology 26:1–36.

                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00829.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  The first of two articles in an issue of Criminology addressing critiques aimed at the criminal career paradigm. The debate surrounding the interpretation of the age-crime curve—namely, whether declines reflect changes in incidence or prevalence—is addressed in this paper.

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                                                  • Chaiken, Jan, and Marcia B. Chaiken. 1982. Varieties of criminal behavior. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp.

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                                                    Using a sample of 2,200 male inmates from three different states (California, Michigan, and Texas), this study relies on self-reports and official records of offending to develop a model that enables the prediction of high-rate offenders, using characteristics such as substance use and lack of stability in employment history.

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                                                    • Gottfredson, Michael, and Travis Hirschi. 1988. Science, public policy, and the career paradigm. Criminology 26:37–55.

                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00830.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Gottfredson and Hirschi respond to Blumstein, et al. 1988 (same issue), particularly its interpretation of the age-crime curve, and various other points of contention regarding the criminal career paradigm.

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                                                      • Horney, Julie, and Ineke Haen Marshall. 1991. Measuring lambda through self-reports. Criminology 29:471–495.

                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1991.tb01075.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Employs the calendar method to estimate within-individual changes in offending rates. Analyses are based on a sample of about four hundred males convicted by the Nebraska Department of Corrections. Pays particular attention to the highest and most recent offending rates reported by the respondents.

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                                                        • Piquero, Alex R., and Alfred Blumstein. 2007. Does incapacitation reduce crime? Journal of Quantitative Criminology 23:267–285.

                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s10940-007-9030-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          Hhighlights various shortcomings of criminal career research with regard to different parameters, including the estimation of lambda. Data and research needs for future research are addressed. Includes a discussion of the policy relevance of research on criminal careers and its various dimensions.

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                                                          • Spelman, William. 1994. Criminal incapacitation. New York: Plenum.

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                                                            Discusses various issues related to incapacitation and criminal careers, including such topics as lambda, specialization, and length of criminal careers. Offers some useful summaries regarding the state of knowledge on lambda and other dimensions of the criminal career.

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                                                            Versatility/Specialization

                                                            Piquero, et al. 2003 provides an overview of criminal career research and discusses the main trends observed in the criminal career literature with regard to offender versatility/specialization, including results pertaining to changes in specialization patterns over time. Kempf 1987 is a frequently cited study on the degree of specialization in the criminal careers of the Philadelphia Birth Cohort participants. Shover 1996; Sullivan, et al. 2006; and McGloin, et al. 2009 contrast patterns of specialization in the short term with long-term criminal career patterns. Armstrong and Britt 2009 investigates the relationship between offender characteristics and patterns of specialization and escalation in criminal careers. There have also been attempts to assess the extent of versatility for particular categories of offenders. For instance, Lussier 2005 reviews research on the degree of specialization among sex offenders. Various studies have compared dimensions of the criminal career measured in self-reports and official records. Lynam, et al. 2004 assesses the differences in specialization trends between self-reports and official records of offending.

                                                            • Armstrong, Todd A., and Chester L. Britt. 2009. The effect of offender characteristics on offense specialization and escalation. Justice Quarterly 21:843–876.

                                                              DOI: 10.1080/07418820400096011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Employs a sample of 2,294 offenders from the Predicting Parole Performance in the Era of Crack Cocaine study to explore whether offender characteristics (such as race, substance use, previous behavior, family environment, etc.) in adolescence are predictive of patterns of specialization and escalation in criminal careers.

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                                                              • Kempf, Kimberly L. 1987. Specialization and the criminal career. Criminology 25:399–420.

                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1987.tb00803.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Analyzes data from the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort to examine the degree of specialization in criminal careers up to age twenty-six. The issue of measurement of the concept of specialization is also addressed.

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                                                                • Lynam, Donald R., Alex R. Piquero, and Terrie E. Moffitt. 2004. Specialization and the propensity to violence: Support from self-reports but not official records. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 20:215–228.

                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/1043986204263781Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  Using data from a Dunedin birth cohort, this study contrasts patterns of specialization in violent crime between self-reports and official records of offending. Findings reveal some distinct patterns between the two methods.

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                                                                  • Lussier, Patrick. 2005. The criminal activity of sexual offenders in adulthood: Revisiting the specialization debate. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 17:269–292.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/107906320501700303Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    An overview of research examining the extent of specialization among sex offenders. Based on the literature on this topic, the author discusses whether sex offenders tend to commit sex crimes only, or whether they engage in a variety of different offenses.

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                                                                    • McGloin, Jean Marie, Christopher J. Sullivan, and Alex R. Piquero. 2009. Aggregating to versatility? Transitions among offender types in the short term. British Journal of Criminology 49:243–264.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azn072Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      A follow-up study to Sullivan, et al. 2006. Event history calendars are used to assess changes in offending patterns in the short term. The key finding from this study suggests some specialization in the short term but a tendency to versatility over time.

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                                                                      • Piquero, Alex, David P. Farrington, and Alfred Blumstein. 2003. The criminal career paradigm. In Crime and justice: A review of research, vol. 30. Edited by Michael Tonry, 359–506. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                        A general review of criminal career research, with a summary of key results relating to various dimensions of the criminal career, including specialization and versatility, as well as changes in these patterns over the course of the criminal career.

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                                                                        • Shover, Neal. 1996. Great pretenders: Pursuits and careers of persistent thieves. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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                                                                          Examines the criminal careers and lifestyles of persistent property offenders, using the narratives approach. Shover identifies short-term tendencies to specialize; that is, to be limited to one particular type of offending.

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                                                                          • Sullivan, Christopher J., Jean Marie McGloin, Travis J. Pratt, and Alex R. Piquero. 2006. Rethinking the “norm” of offender generality: Investigating specialization in the short-term. Criminology 44:199–233.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00047.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Investigates patterns of specialization in the short term among a sample of incarcerated males. The event history calendar is employed to identify short-term (month-to-month) variations in offending behavior and specialization trends.

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                                                                            Seriousness

                                                                            The issue of increasing seriousness (or escalation) in criminal careers has been addressed in various studies. Piquero, et al. 2003 summarizes some of the key findings on the relationship between offense severity and criminal career trends, as well as the issue of escalation in offending over time. Le Blanc and Fréchette 1989 devotes quite a bit of attention to the issue of seriousness and escalation. Blumstein, et al. 1988 investigates patterns of escalation in offending. Kempf 1988 examines the link between the severity of offending in adolescence and later criminal career outcomes. Farrington, et al. 1996 creates a self-reported offending seriousness score and tests its predictive and concurrent validity. In a more recent study, Ramchand, et al. 2009 develops another measure of crime seriousness based on key findings in criminal career and life-course research. Le Blanc 2002 discusses various strategies used to study changes in individual offending patterns (including escalation) over time.

                                                                            • Blumstein, Alfred, Jacqueline Cohen, Shamita Das, and Soumyo D. Moitra. 1988. Specialization and seriousness during adult criminal careers. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 4:303–345.

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                                                                              Examines increases in the severity of offending (i.e., escalation) in criminal careers patterns. Changes in specialization and seriousness trends are addressed, as well as comparisons between different racial groups.

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                                                                              • Farrington, David P., Rolf Loeber, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, Welmoet B. Van Kammen, and Laura Schmidt. 1996. Self-reported delinquency and a combined delinquency seriousness scale based on boys, mothers, and teachers: Concurrent and predictive validity for African-Americans and Caucasians. Criminology 34:493–517.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1996.tb01217.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Using data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, the authors contrast self-reported seriousness scores to official records. The study is also concerned with testing the validity of self-reported seriousness scores and “combined delinquency seriousness scores,” which integrate self-reports, parent reports, and teacher reports.

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                                                                                • Kempf, Kimberley L. 1988. Crime severity and criminal career progression. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 79:524–540.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/1143474Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  An analysis based on the second Philadelphia Birth Cohort examining the relationship between the severity of delinquency in adolescence and crime in adulthood. Comparisons across race and gender are also carried out.

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                                                                                  • Le Blanc, Marc. 2002. The offending cycle, escalation and de-escalation in delinquent behavior: A challenge for criminology. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 26:1–31.

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                                                                                    An outline of the main strategies used to study changes in criminal career trends. Discusses the lack of consensus on the measurement of the concept of escalation, as well as the challenges in identifying patterns of escalation in criminal careers.

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                                                                                    • Le Blanc, Marc, and Marcel Fréchette. 1989. Male criminal activity from childhood through youth: Multilevel and developmental perspectives. New York: Springer-Verlag.

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                                                                                      Describes key criminal career parameters using data from the Montreal Two Samples Longitudinal Study. A significant portion of the book is dedicated to the study of patterns of escalation, deceleration, and specialization.

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                                                                                      • Piquero, Alex, David P. Farrington, and Alfred Blumstein. 2003. The criminal career paradigm. In Crime and justice: A review of research, vol. 30. Edited by Michael Tonry, 359–506. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                        An overview of various dimensions of the criminal career, including a summary of findings about offense seriousness and patterns of escalation and de-escalation throughout the course of the criminal career.

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                                                                                        • Ramchand, Rajeev, John M. MacDonald, Amelia Haviland, and Andrew R. Morral. 2009. A developmental approach for measuring the severity of crimes. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 25:129–153.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s10940-008-9061-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Employs data from the National Youth Survey and the RAND Adolescent Outcomes Project to develop an alternative measure of the seriousness of offending. This measurement of offense severity seeks to capture the progressive nature of developmental patterns of offending.

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                                                                                          Duration

                                                                                          Blumstein, et al. 1982 is a pioneering study and one of the first systematic attempts to assess criminal career length (and residual length). Various studies that have provided estimates of criminal career length, such as Spelman 1994, have done so in the larger context of research assessing the crime-reduction effects of incapacitation policies. Piquero, et al. 2004 is an analysis of criminal career length among California Youth Authority males. Elliott, et al. 1986 analyzes data from the National Youth Survey to assess criminal career length, using an alternative measure of career length (or “career continuity”). Analyses of career length have also been carried out with international samples. Le Blanc and Fréchette 1989 contains rich data from the Montreal Two Samples Longitudinal Study that enabled the authors to compare criminal career length in self-reports and official records. Francis, et al. 2007 assesses criminal career length in a sample of British males and females. In recent years, there have been attempts to examine residual criminal career length, or the number of years remaining in the criminal career at any given point in time. Kazemian and Farrington 2006 conducts such analyses using the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development sample, while Ezell 2007 does so using the California Youth Authority sample.

                                                                                          • Blumstein, A., Jacqueline Cohen, and Paul Hsieh. 1982. The duration of adult criminal careers: Final report to National Institute of Justice. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie-Mellon Univ.

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                                                                                            One of the leading studies on the duration of criminal careers. Using data on arrests, it estimates total and residual criminal career lengths for index offenses recorded during 1973 in Washington, DC. The analyses presented identify three major periods in the criminal career.

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                                                                                            • Elliott, Delbert S., David Huizinga, and Barbara Morse. 1986. Self-reported violent offending: A descriptive analysis of juvenile violent offenders and their offending careers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 1:472–514.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/088626086001004006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Analysis of criminal career length based on data from the first five waves of the National Youth Survey. Career length trends are presented according to various demographic characteristics, such as gender, age of onset, race, social class, and environment of residence (urban, suburban, rural).

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                                                                                              • Ezell, Michael E. 2007. The effect of criminal history variables on the process of desistance in adulthood among serious youthful offenders. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 23:28–49.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/1043986206298943Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Assesses criminal career length in official records using a sample of high-rate offenders from the California Youth Authority. Total and offense-specific career lengths, as well as their correlates, are investigated. Also includes analyses relating to residual criminal career length.

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                                                                                                • Francis, Brian, Keith Soothill, and Alex R. Piquero. 2007. Estimation issues and generational changes in modeling criminal career length. Crime and Delinquency 53:84–105.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0011128706294441Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Uses data from the British Offenders Index, a study of six different birth cohorts from England and Wales, to assess criminal career length. Gender differences are investigated. Correlates of career length are also examined.

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                                                                                                  • Kazemian, Lila, and David P. Farrington. 2006. Exploring residual career length and residual number of offenses for two generations of repeat offenders. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 43:89–113.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0022427805280066Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    An exploratory study investigating the distributions of official residual career length among two generations of British males. Distributions of residual career length according to different dimensions linked to criminal careers are presented, including age of the offender at the time of offense, number of convictions, time since the last conviction, age of onset, offense type, and number of co-offenders.

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                                                                                                    • Le Blanc, Marc, and Marcel Fréchette. 1989. Male criminal activity from childhood through youth: Multilevel and developmental perspectives. New York: Springer-Verlag.

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                                                                                                      A comparison of criminal career length in self-reports, official records, and between representative and adjudicated males of the Montreal Two Samples Longitudinal Study.

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                                                                                                      • Piquero, Alex, Robert Brame, and Donald Lynam 2004. Studying criminal career length through early adulthood among serious offenders. Crime and Delinquency 50:412–435.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/0011128703260333Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        An analysis of official criminal career length using the California Youth Authority sample, including comparisons across race. Correlates of career length are also investigated.

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                                                                                                        • Spelman, William. 1994. Criminal Incapacitation. New York: Plenum.

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                                                                                                          Using data from the RAND Inmate Survey, Spelman estimates criminal career length for property and personal offenders, with a focus on the issue of incapacitation.

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                                                                                                          Desistance

                                                                                                          Desistance, generally defined as the cessation of offending behavior, is one of the central dimensions of developmental, life-course, and criminal career research. Sampson and Laub 1993 and Laub and Sampson 2003 are essential readings in the area of desistance. Both studies present findings from follow-up studies of the males involved in the Gluecks’ original study. Maruna 2001 is a qualitative analysis of the desistance process among a group of formerly incarcerated individuals. Le Blanc and Fréchette 1989 offers a definition of desistance that encompasses some of the key dimensions of criminal careers, including frequency, seriousness, and versatility. One of the most comprehensive reviews of the desistance literature is Laub and Sampson 2001.

                                                                                                          • Laub, John H., and Robert J. Sampson. 2001. Understanding desistance from crime. In Crime and justice, vol. 28. Edited by Michael Tonry, 1–69. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                            A comprehensive review of the desistance literature and discussion of various theoretical, conceptual, and methodological issues relevant to this topic. Includes an overview of the theoretical frameworks developed to explain desistance.

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                                                                                                            • Laub, John H., and Robert J. Sampson. 2003. Shared beginnings, divergent lives: Delinquent boys to age 70. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                              A second major reanalysis of the Gluecks’ data, including a longer follow-up of the study participants, an investigation of the trajectories of offending, and a focus on the issue of prediction.

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                                                                                                              • Le Blanc, Marc, and Marcel Fréchette. 1989. Male criminal activity from childhood through youth: Multilevel and developmental perspectives. New York: Springer-Verlag.

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                                                                                                                A report of key results from the Montreal Two Samples Longitudinal Study, looking at participants up to their early twenties. Various dimensions of the criminal career are addressed. A more developmental conceptualization of desistance is presented, defined as reductions in offending frequency, seriousness, and versatility.

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                                                                                                                • Maruna, Shadd. 2001. Making good: How ex-convicts reform and rebuild their lives. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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                                                                                                                  A qualitative analysis of the desistance process among a sample of Liverpool males. Examines the narratives of “desisting” and “persisting” offenders and assesses the impact of both internal (psychological) and external (social) factors on the desistance process.

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                                                                                                                  • Sampson, Robert J., and John H. Laub. 1993. Crime in the making: Pathways and turning points through life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                    The first major reanalysis of the Gluecks’ data, with a particular emphasis on the role of social bonds in the explanation of crime and desistance.

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                                                                                                                    Continuity in Criminal Careers

                                                                                                                    There is a large body of research that has identified a substantial degree of continuity in criminal careers. Piquero, et al. 2003 offers a review of this literature. The dual taxonomy in Moffitt 1993 emphasizes the importance of continuity in problem behaviors and offending among life-course-persistent offenders across different periods of life. Nagin and Farrington 1992 provides explanations for the positive relationship between past and future offending. Various studies, such as Paternoster, et al. 1997, Nagin and Paternoster 2000, and Ezell and Cohen 2005, have argued that criminal careers display patterns of both stability and change. Sampson and Laub 2003 presents results concerning criminal careers up to age seventy and discusses the imperfect degree of continuity in offending trajectories over long periods of time.

                                                                                                                    • Ezell, Michael E., and Lawrence E. Cohen. 2005. Desisting from crime: Continuity and change in long-term crime patterns of serious chronic offenders. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                      A longitudinal follow-up of California Youth Authority males that examines variations in criminal career patterns into adulthood. One of the most important findings of the study shows that both continuity and change can be observed in the criminal careers of serious offenders.

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                                                                                                                      • Moffitt, Terrie E. 1993. “Life-course persistent” and “adolescence-limited” antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review 100:674–701.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.100.4.674Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        A classic study in developmental criminology. Presents a typology of offenders defined by two distinct groups: adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent offenders. Early risk factors and characteristics of offending behavior among the latter group are described in detail.

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                                                                                                                        • Nagin, Daniel S., and David P. Farrington. 1992. The stability of criminal potential from childhood to adulthood. Criminology 30:235–260.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1992.tb01104.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Uses data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development to explain the stability in offending behavior across the life course. Analyses test persistent heterogeneity and state-dependence hypotheses.

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                                                                                                                          • Nagin, Daniel S., and Raymond Paternoster. 2000. Population heterogeneity and state dependence: State of the evidence and directions for future research. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 16:117–144.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/A:1007502804941Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            An overview of the state of research on the persistent heterogeneity and state dependence arguments. The key conclusion from this review relates to the fact that both these perspectives are important in the explanation of the link between prior and future offending.

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                                                                                                                            • Paternoster, Raymond, Charles W. Dean, Alex Piquero, Paul Mazerolle and Robert Brame. 1997. Generality, continuity, and change in offending. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 13: 231–266.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1007/BF02221092Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Investigates the relationship between past and future offending, using data from the North Carolina Division of Youth Services. One of the key findings from this study relates to the idea that both stability and change are observed in offending trends over time.

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                                                                                                                              • Piquero, Alex, David P. Farrington, and Alfred Blumstein. 2003. The criminal career paradigm. In Crime and justice. Edited by Michael Tonry, 359–506. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                A summary of research examining the link between past and future offending. Various explanatory frameworks for the continuity in criminal careers are discussed.

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                                                                                                                                • Sampson, Robert J., and John H. Laub. 2003. Life-course desisters: Trajectories of crime among delinquent boys followed to age 70. Criminology 41:555–592.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2003.tb00997.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  A longitudinal analysis of the criminal careers of the Glueck men up to age seventy. Various important results emerge from this analysis, including the difficulty in making long-term predictions of criminal career trajectories based on childhood risk factors.

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                                                                                                                                  Criminal Career Trajectories

                                                                                                                                  In recent years, various efforts have been undertaken to develop more sophisticated means of studying offending patterns across time, and the trajectories approach has gained a great deal of popularity in criminal career research. Nagin and Land 1993 was one of the pioneering studies investigating criminal career trajectories. Following up on this study, Nagin, et al. 1995 compares the various characteristics that distinguish the trajectories. Chung et al. 2002 employs data from the Seattle Social Development Project to identify criminal career trajectories. Using a Dutch sample, Blokland and Nieuwbeerta 2005 examines the impact of life circumstances on criminal career trajectories. Bushway, et al. 2003 addresses the issue of measurement of desistance and compares results when using static and dynamic (trajectory) models of desistance. Piquero, et al. 2001 tackles an important methodological issue—namely, whether exposure time impacts criminal career trajectories. Some studies, however, have looked at the limitations of the trajectory approach. McCord 2000 addresses some of the problems associated with more sophisticated statistical models. Eggleston, et al. 2004 explores some shortcomings of the trajectory model and discusses the robustness of this approach under different considerations.

                                                                                                                                  • Blokland, Arjan A. J., and Paul Nieuwbeerta. 2005. The effects of life circumstances on longitudinal trajectories of offending. Criminology 43:1203–1240.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2005.00037.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Presents research assessing the impact of life events, such as marriage and employment, on criminal career trajectories and the age-crime distribution. Analyses are based on a sample of Dutch individuals and employ both self-reports and official records.

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                                                                                                                                    • Bushway, Shawn D., Terence P. Thornberry, and Marvin D. Krohn. 2003. Desistance as a developmental process: A comparison of static and dynamic approaches. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 19:129–153.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1023/A:1023050103707Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Using data from the Rochester Youth Development Study, this study offers an alternative measurement of desistance and contrasts results when using static and dynamic (trajectory) models for measuring desistance. The findings suggest that the trajectory approach provides more complete information about gradual changes that occur in offending over time.

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                                                                                                                                      • Chung, Ick-Joong, Karl G. Hill, J. David Hawkins, Lewayne D. Gilchrist, and Daniel S. Nagin. 2002. Childhood predictors of offense trajectories. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 39:60–90.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/002242780203900103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Using data from the Seattle Social Development Project, the authors identify five offending trajectories: nonoffenders, late onsetters, desisters, escalators, and chronic offenders. Early predictors of trajectory membership are also investigated.

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                                                                                                                                        • Eggleston, Elaine P., John H. Laub, and Robert J. Sampson. 2004. Methodological sensitivities to latent class analysis of long-term criminal trajectories. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 20:1–26.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1023/B:JOQC.0000016696.02763.ceSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Based on a sample of the Glueck men followed up to age seventy, this paper highlights some of the limitations of the trajectory model. These analyses investigate the robustness of the trajectory model when accounting for three major issues in longitudinal data analysis: length of follow-up, exposure time, and deaths.

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                                                                                                                                          • McCord, Joan. 2000. Developmental trajectories and intentional actions. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 16:237–253.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/A:1007520723597Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            A critique of more sophisticated statistical models, such as the trajectory approach. The author argues that such models are not easily understood and interpreted and also highlights the problems associated with aggregation. Analyses of transition matrices are presented.

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                                                                                                                                            • Nagin, Daniel S., and Kenneth C. Land. 1993. Age, criminal careers, and population heterogeneity: specification and estimation of a nonparametric, mixed poisson model. Criminology 31:327–362.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1993.tb01133.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              This important study examines several questions relevant to criminal career research, including variations in crime rates with age and the issue of chronic offenders, by identifying criminal career trajectories using the nonparametric mixed Poisson model. The authors identify four different trajectories.

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                                                                                                                                              • Nagin, Daniel S., David P. Farrington, and Terrie E. Moffitt. 1995. Life-course trajectories of different types of offenders. Criminology 33:111–139.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1995.tb01173.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Examines the individual, behavioral, and social characteristics associated with different offending trajectories up to age thirty-two. Significant differences between the different groups are identified.

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                                                                                                                                                • Piquero, Alex, Alfred Blumstein, Robert Brame, Rudy Haapanen, Edward P. Mulvey, and Daniel S. Nagin. 2001. Assessing the impact of exposure time and incapacitation on longitudinal trajectories of criminal offending. Journal of Adolescent Research 16:54–74.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0743558401161005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  The California Youth Authority data is examined to determine whether the consideration of exposure time (periods of incarceration or other forms of detention) has an impact on criminal career trajectories.

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                                                                                                                                                  “Career Criminals” and Related Policies

                                                                                                                                                  Since Wolfgang, et al. 1972 (see Major Criminal Career Studies) identified a small number of offenders who were responsible for a large proportion of all offending, chronic offenders, or “career criminals,” have received a great deal of attention in both theory and policy. One of the major studies of selective incapacitation, Greenwood and Abrahamse 1982, develops a seven-item scale to differentiate low-rate, medium-rate, and high-rate offenders. Some of the limitations of policies targeted at high-rate offenders have been addressed by several works, such as Auerhahn 1999 and von Hirsch 1998. The effectiveness of “three-strikes” laws, one particular type of selective incapacitation policy, has been investigated by various studies, including Stolzenberg and D’Alessio 1997, Marvell and Moody 2001, and Chen 2008. The financial costs of such policies are discussed by Austin, et al. 1999.

                                                                                                                                                  • Auerhahn, Kathleen. 1999. Selective incapacitation and the problem of prediction. Criminology 37:703–734.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1999.tb00502.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    A summary of some of the main problems associated with selective incapacitation policies, including ethical concerns, the issue of prediction, flawed estimates of incapacitation effects, and other methodological considerations.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Austin, James, John Clark, Patricia Hardyman and D. Alan Henry. 1999. The impact of “three strikes and you’re out.” Punishment and Society 1:131–162.

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                                                                                                                                                      Discusses the various types of “three-strikes” laws in different American states, the historical context of these laws, their impact on crime rates, and a description of the profiles of individuals adjudicated under these laws. Findings relating to correctional costs associated with three-strikes policies are also presented.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Chen, Elsa Y. 2008. Impacts of “three strikes and you’re out” on crime trends in California and throughout the United States. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24:345–370.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/1043986208319456Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Assesses the effect of “three-strikes” policies across American states over a period of nearly two decades (up to 2005). Time-series analyses are used to investigate the deterrent and incapacitative effect of three-strikes policies.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Greenwood, Peter W., and Allan Abrahamse. 1982. Selective incapacitation. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp.

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                                                                                                                                                          One of the pioneering studies on selective incapacitation. Develops a seven-item scale to identify low-, medium- and high-rate offenders. Information was collected through retrospective self-reports obtained from a sample of inmates convicted for robbery or burglary in three different states.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Marvell, Thomas B., and Carlisle E. Moody. 2001. The lethal effects of three-strikes laws. Journal of Legal Studies 30:89–106.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/468112Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Assesses the effect of “three-strikes” legislation on homicide rates in the United States, using a time-series model. The key findings that emerge from this study relate to the increase in homicides linked to three-strikes laws, as well as the limited incapacitative and deterrent effects of the laws.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Stolzenberg, Lisa, and Stewart J. D’Alessio. 1997. “Three strikes and you’re out”: The impact of California’s new mandatory sentencing law on serious crime rates. Crime and Delinquency 43:457–469.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0011128797043004004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              An assessment of the effectiveness of the three-strikes laws in reducing crime rates. Three major explanations are offered for the lack of impact of the legislation on crime rates: stochastic selectivity effects, the age-crime distribution and the duration of criminal careers, and juvenile offending.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Von Hirsch, Andrew. 1988. Selective incapacitation reexamined: The National Academy of Sciences’ report on criminal careers and “career criminals.” Criminal Justice Ethics 7:19–35.

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                                                                                                                                                                A critical summary of the selective incapacitation model’s shortcomings. Limitations discussed include problems linked to prediction, ethical issues associated with false positives, and biased estimates of incapacitation effects.

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                                                                                                                                                                Critiques of the Criminal Career Paradigm

                                                                                                                                                                Gottfredson and Hirschi’s critiques of the criminal career paradigm are presented in Gottfredson and Hirschi 1986 and Gottfredson and Hirschi 1988. In these publications, the authors object to the concept of criminal careers and challenge the relevance of various criminal career parameters. They also dispute the need for longitudinal data to study the development of offending behavior. Le Blanc 1993 addresses some of the limitations of the criminal career approach, namely the failure to give sufficient importance to within-individual changes in offending patterns. Laub and Sampson 2001 also points to some shortcomings of the criminal career paradigm—namely, the idea that this approach focuses mainly on policy and neglects theory. Tittle 1988 addresses some of the main points of contention between Gottfredson and Hirschi and the criminal career researchers.

                                                                                                                                                                • Gottfredson, Michael R., and Travis Hirschi. 1986. The true value of lambda would appear to be zero: An essay on career criminals, criminal careers, selective incapacitation, cohort studies, and related topics. Criminology 24:213–234.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1986.tb01494.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Addresses various points of contention between the views of the authors and those of criminal career researchers, such as the concept of a career criminal, the relevance of selective incapacitation policies, and the age-crime distribution.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Gottfredson, Michael, and Travis Hirschi. 1988. Science, public policy, and the career paradigm. Criminology 26:37–55.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00830.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Gottfredson and Hirschi’s critique of the criminal career paradigm. Topics of discussion include the relevance of various criminal career parameters, the importance of distinguishing between offending frequency and participation, the need for longitudinal data, and the interpretation of the age-crime curve.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Laub, John H., and Robert J. Sampson. 2001. Understanding desistance from crime. In Crime and justice, vol. 28. Edited by Michael Tonry, 1–69. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                      An overview of the state of knowledge on desistance from crime. Includes a summary of desistance studies conducted in various areas, including within the criminal career framework; also discusses the shortcomings of this paradigm.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Le Blanc, Marc 1993. Late adolescence deceleration of criminal activity and development of self- and social control. Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention 2:51–68.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Investigates within-individual changes in offending frequency, using data from the Montreal Two Samples Longitudinal Study. Emphasis is placed on within-individual changes in offending behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Tittle, Charles R. 1988. Two empirical regularities (maybe) in search of an explanation: Commentary on the age/crime debate. Criminology 26:75–85.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1988.tb00832.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          A summary of the main points of contention between the criminal career researchers and Gottfredson and Hirschi, particularly with regard to selective incapacitation policies, the interpretation of the age-crime curve, the relevance of longitudinal data, and criminal career research more generally.

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