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NCJ Number: 119144 Find in a Library
Title: Some Criminogenic Traits of Offenders (From Juvenile Psychiatry and the Law, P 13-28, 1989, Richard Rosner and Harold I Schwartz, eds. -- See NCJ-119142)
Author(s): R J Herrnstein
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Press
New York, NY 10013
Sale Source: Plenum Press
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Research by Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck and several corroborating studies with different samples have demonstrated that certain personal traits are criminogenic and that differences in body build, personality, intelligence, and time discounting make the people most at risk of criminal behavior a group that is not typical of the general population.
Abstract: The Gluecks began in the late 1930's to compare a sample of 500 delinquent males incarcerated for serious offenses with a sample of 500 nondelinquent Boston youths of about the same age, ethnic background, intelligence, and neighborhood characteristics. The delinquent boys were markedly more mesomorphic (muscular and squarish) and were weaker in verbal ability than the nondelinquents. The delinquents also tended to be assertive, unafraid, aggressive, unconventional, extroverted, and poorly assimilated into the social milieu. In contrast, the nondelinquents were self-controlled, concerned about their relations with others, willing to be guided by social standards, and strong in feelings like insecurity, helplessness, love or lack of love, and anxiety. Subsequent studies using instruments like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory have confirmed these general findings. Some of the traits involved are heritable. However, none of the data justify the concept of a born criminal. However, circumstances like poor law enforcement, inadequate teaching of society's standards of conduct, school systems that fail to educate the less gifted, and socioeconomic inequities that intensify feelings of alienation and resentment are among the factors that promote crime, particularly among those with special susceptibilities. Table, figure, and 61 references.
Main Term(s): Juvenile Delinquent-nondelinquent comparisons
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prediction; Psychological causes of delinquency; Wrongful incarceration
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