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NCJ Number: 211007 Find in a Library
Title: Do Career Criminals Exist in Rural America?
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:33  Issue:4  Dated:July/August 2005  Pages:317-325
Author(s): Mark T. Berg; Matt DeLisi
Date Published: July 2005
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Since the criminal career paradigm was essentially derived from analyses of offending behaviors in urban areas, the current study applied a retrospective, cross-sectional research design to a sample of 331 former adult correctional clients in the case archives of a rural Midwestern State.
Abstract: The characteristics and crime patterns of the sample were obtained from official records and self-reports. The geographic area encompassed by the study contained 32 non-metropolitan towns and municipalities with resident populations that ranged from 306 to approximately 25,000; the remaining 30 communities had populations between 306 and 1,328. Data pertinent to criminal career patterns addressed onset of offending, total number of arrests, juvenile and adult arrests, violent index arrests, probation sentences, jail sentences, and prison sentences. T-tests compared the social and criminal histories of career offenders (defined as those at or above the 90th percentile of career arrests) and noncareer offenders. The model rural offender was a 28-year-old White male. Although some offenders had an early onset of antisocial behavior, the average offender was not first arrested until age 21. The criminal careers of the sample were characterized by relatively few arrests, short-lived involvements in the criminal justice system, and a paucity of violent crime. Although the sample demonstrated relatively benign criminality overall, the chronic offenders (top 10 percent of the sample) typically had overlapping, contemporaneous problems such as alcoholism, substance abuse, mental health disorders, early onset of antisocial behavior, low educational achievement, and revolving involvement in the criminal justice system. Overall, rural career offenders tended to be relatively harmless in terms of the severity of their crimes when compared to habitual offenders commonly profiled in the criminological literature. 4 tables and 59 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Criminal career patterns; Juvenile to adult criminal careers; Rural area studies; Rural crime; Rural urban comparisons
Note: This study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology, November 19-22, 2003, Denver, CO.
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