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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 63380 Find in a Library
Title: DELINQUENCY, RECIDIVISM AND DESISTANCE
Journal: BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:SPECIAL ISSUE (OCTOBER 1979)  Pages:314-322
Author(s): G TRASLER
Corporate Author: Stevens and Sons
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Stevens and Sons
London, England
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THIS CONCEPT OF DELINQUENCY AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH IT PERSISTS OR CEASES ARE REVIEWED TO ASSESS HOW BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION METHODS MIGHT BE USED TO DEFLECT OFFENDERS FROM CRIME.
Abstract: LAWBREAKING IS NO LONGER SEEN AS CONFINED TO A MINORITY GROUP OF DEVIANT INDIVIDUALS, BUT RATHER AS A NORMAL FEATURE OF ADOLESCENCE. FOR MOST PEOPLE, DELINQUENCY IS A TRANSIENT PHASE PRACTICED IN RESPONSE TO A PARTICULAR SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES AND REINFORCERS--OPPORTUNITIES, FRUSTRATIONS, BOREDOM, OR SOCIAL AND MATERIAL REWARDS. HOWEVER, THE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR OF ADULTS IS LESS SITUATION-BOUND AND MORE HABITUAL OR CHARACTERISTIC OF THE INDIVIDUAL. SPONTANEOUS DESISTANCE FROM DELINQUENCY IN EARLY ADULTHOOD TAKES PLACE BECAUSE OF CHANGES IN AVAILABLE REINFORCERS AND IN THEIR CONTINGENT BEHAVIORS. WHERE THESE ADULT REINFORCERS REMAIN UNAVAILABLE, ADOLESCENT PATERNS OF DELINQUENCY PERSIST. THE DESCENT INTO RECIDIVISM IS COMPARED TO THE PROCESS OF BECOMING ALCOHOLIC; BOTH ENTAIL THE PROGRESSIVE EROSION OF SOURCES OF SATISFACTION WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE CAUSED SPONTANEOUS RECOVERY. UNLIKE THE PSYCHOPATH, YOUNG DELINQUENTS DO NOT SHOW A GENERALIZED DEFICIT OF CONSCIENCE. BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION METHODS HAVE SO FAR BEEN APPLIED TO OFFENDERS ONLY IN THE ARTIFICIAL CONDITIONS OF RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS. THESE STRATEGIES SHOULD BE USED IN THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS IN THE COMMUNITY WHERE AN AVERSIVE REINFORCER IS THE THREAT OF REINCARCERATION. A COMMUNITY SETTING WOULD ENCOURAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PATTERN OF LIFE MORE REWARDING THAN DELINQUENCY. SUCH A PROGRAM WOULD CALL FOR RESOURCEFUL, DEDICATED ADVISORS IN THE COMMUNITY, A ROLE IN WHICH APPROPRIATELY TRAINED EX-OFFENDERS MIGHT BE EFFECTIVE. CONTINGENCY CONTRACTS, AN IMPORTANT TOOL OF THIS METHOD, SHOULD BE VOLUNTARY, WITH CLEARLY DEFINED REWARDS, AND AT A PROGRESSIVE LEVEL OF COUNSELOR INVOLVEMENT. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Behavior patterns; Behavioral objectives; Behavioral science research; Counseling; England; Juvenile delinquency factors; Milieu therapy
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63380

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