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NCJ Number: NCJ 171370     Find in a Library
Title: Aging Criminals: Changes in the Criminal Calculus (From In Their Own Words: Criminals on Crime: An Anthology, 57-63, 1996, Paul Cromwell, ed. - See NCJ-171367)
Author(s): N Shover
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 7
  Annotation: Changes in decision-making processes as offenders grow older were examined by means of interviews of 50 men ages 40 and over who were involved in ordinary property crime earlier in their careers.
Abstract: Participants were located through the files of probation offices in several cities and through referrals from ex-convicts. The participants had mainly committed grand larceny, burglary, robbery, and auto theft. All had been convicted of such offenses at least once. The interviews averaged 2 hours in length. Results revealed that juveniles slid into their initial delinquent acts for a variety of nonrational reasons that were often situationally based. Much juvenile delinquency began simply as risk-taking behavior and only later took on the character and meaning of crime. The youths neither possessed nor used a precise method for assessing the potential consequences of their behavior. The approach of adult and the experience of arrest and adult felony confinement transformed their poorly developed youthful calculus. By late adolescence to their early 20s, the men began to develop a keener awareness of the potential costs of criminal behavior. Aging and its associated experiences were accompanied by an increasing rationalization of ordinary property crime. A substantial majority of the uncommitted apparently dropped out of crime at this point. Theft increasingly arose from a more autonomous set of motives and meanings for those who continued in crime. The third and final stage of their criminal careers was notable for their increasing realization that the expected financial gains from crime were small in both relative and absolute terms. Their estimation of the likelihood of arrest increased at the same time. Finally, the experiences of successful offenders differed from those of other offenders in three ways. First, the former usually developed an autonomous, rationalized calculus of crime at an early age. Second, the crimes of successful offenders generally are substantially more rewarding then the crimes committed by other types of offenders, and third, they are more successful than other types of offenders in avoiding incarceration. 12 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile to adult criminal careers
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors ; Criminal career patterns ; Property crime causes ; Offender attitudes
Sale Source: Roxbury Publishing Co.
P.O. Box 491044
Los Angeles, CA 90049-9044
United States of America
Type: Survey
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: Excerpted from Aging Criminals by Neal Shover, Sage Publications, 1985, P 105-126
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