Chapter

Special Categories of Serious and Violent Offenders

Richard Rosenfeld, Helene R. White and Finn-Aage Esbensen

in From Juvenile Delinquency to Adult Crime

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199828166
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199951208 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199828166.003.0005
Special Categories of Serious and Violent Offenders

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This chapter examines drug dealing and gang membership, and to a lesser extent sex offending and homicide, with respect to age of onset and desistance, correlates and causes, and offense specialization and persistence during the transition from adolescence into young adulthood. Prior studies and research indicate that initiation of criminal activity is not rigidly fixed in enduring biological or developmental processes, but is contingent on crime type, time period, and perhaps other features of social context. Although most criminal offending begins in adolescence, the chapter finds some evidence of initiation of serious violence and drug dealing in early adulthood, whereas gang membership almost always begins during adolescence. The chapter's analyses also indicate comparatively strong persistence from adolescence into young adulthood of drug dealing and gun carrying, less persistence in serious violence and theft, and little persistence in gang involvement. In general, the evidence suggests that special types of offenders do not tend to specialize in a single offense type to the exclusion of others, although prior research does indicate somewhat greater specialization among sex offenders who victimize children than those who victimize peers or adults. Additional research is needed to formulate effective interventions for these special offenders.

Keywords: drug dealers; gang members; homicide offenders; sex offenders; gun carrying

Chapter.  13520 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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