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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 158807 Find in a Library
Title: On the "Dangerousness" of Chronic/Habitual Offenders: A Re- Analysis of the 1945 Philadelphia Birth Cohort Data
Journal: Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(1995)  Pages:159-175
Author(s): E G M Weitekamp; H J Kerner; V Schindler; A Schubert
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 17
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study re-analyzes in depth the 1945 Philadelphia birth cohort data to determine the severity of offenses committed by chronic/habitual offenders.
Abstract: Although after 1972 a major focus of research was the career criminal and criminal-career concept, the criminal justice policy based upon this research was disastrous. The authors found in their re-analysis that although chronic offenders do commit more petty crimes than others, they are involved in a "cafeteria style" delinquency and are not as dangerous as has been generally believed. Moreover, the re-analysis found that multiple offending does not necessarily imply the committing of serious or serious violent index offenses. In addition, chronicity of criminal behavior does not lead to higher material or personal damage per offense, as defined by the Sellin-Wolfgang Index. The re-analysis found no support for the assumption that with increasing career length, an escalation of offense severity occurs. Based upon the Sellin-Wolfgang Crime-Severity Index, the re-analysis could not find any difference between the future chronic and nonchronic offenders for the first four subsequent offenses. The authors conclude that the chronic offender group is not as dangerous as is commonly believed, and a criminal justice policy based upon this re-analysis' finding is needed. 6 figures, 3 tables, and 38 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Dangerousness; Habitual offenders; Juvenile delinquency; Juvenile recidivists; Longitudinal studies; Serious juvenile offenders
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