skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 160220 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Priority Prosecution of High-Rate Dangerous Offenders (From Criminal Justice in America: Theory, Practice, and Policy, P 226- 241, 1996, Barry W Hancock and Paul M Sharp, eds. -- See NCJ- 160206)
Author(s): M R Chaiken; J M Chaiken
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Prentice-Hall, Inc
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: Prentice-Hall, Inc
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter summarizes the findings from a study of career criminal programs in two jurisdictions and offers recommendations for such programs.
Abstract: The study examined official record data available to prosecutors in the two jurisdictions to learn which items of information most accurately identified offenders as high-rate (committing crimes frequently) and dangerous (committing violent crimes). Although much of the information usually available to prosecutors was found useful for identifying high-rate, dangerous offenders, the study found that other commonly used information can be misleading or ineffective for purposes of identification. The study found that prosecutors evaluate separately the three dimensions of a defendant's criminality: rates of committing crimes, dangerousness, and persistence. Defendants who were identified as high-rate and dangerous by prosecutors in one site were also identified as high-rate and dangerous by prosecutors in the second site. Written office guidelines regarding selection criteria for career criminals promote consistency in deputy district attorneys' judgments about the kinds of defendants who are high-rate, dangerous offenders. Long-term persistent offenders may or may not be high-rate, dangerous offenders; habitual criminality should not be confused with high-rate, dangerous criminality. Although some existing guidelines for identifying high-rate, dangerous offenders are valid and useful, greater accuracy may be obtained through a two-stage screening process. Once a group of high-rate offenders was identified, the subset of high-rate, dangerous offenders could be identified by using a small number of criteria that include elements of the instant crime. Several factors proven not to be indicative of high-rate, dangerousness were the display or use of a gun to threaten a victim; alcoholism; number of prior arrests for drug distribution or possession; number of adult convictions for assault, burglary, auto theft, robbery, or receipt of stolen property; record of previous probation or parole revocations; and a record of previous incarceration. The study also found that the most criminally active defendants in one jurisdiction (Middlesex County, Mass.) and the most criminally active defendants in the second jurisdiction (Los Angeles County) committed crimes at essentially the same rates. 13 notes, questions for discussion, and suggested student applications of the chapter material
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Career criminal programs; Dangerousness; Habitual offenders; Prosecution
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.