PSYC 2400 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: 6 Years, Karen Horney, Substance Abuse

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
School
Carleton University
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 2400
Professor
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
PSYC 2400 - Winter 2013
Lecture 14
Exiting Crime: Exploring Offender Desistance
Introduction
When and why do offenders stop committing crimes?
What does the ex-offender look like? What kind of behaviors, attitudes, etc. to they express?
At what point would we consider someone an “ex-offender”?
Today’s Objectives
Do people stop committing crimes?
Why do they stop committing crimes?
What is the process of desistance?
How does this perspective benefit the Criminal Justice System (CJS)?
Film/Case Study Activity
The Age-Crime Curve
Research consistently shows:
Criminal behaviour peaks in late adolescence/early adulthood
Shows a sharp decline after age 30
Adult criminal career:
6 years (Blumstein & Cohen, 1987)
17 years (Ezell, 2007)
Wide variation:
4-30 years (Piquero et al., 2004)
How does Age affect Crime?
Decline in physical strength
Lost contact with antisocial peers
Maturation
Change in social/institutional environment
Cognitive changes/changes in subjective interpretation of environment
Other Reasons Behind Age-Crime Curve
Learning to evade detection
Change from illegal to legal antisocial activities
Ongoing antisocial behavior that does not lead to arrest
Research on the Mechanisms Behind Desistance
Burn Out
Physical ageing
50% of active offenders believed they were in worse physical condition at time of
interview compared to 5 years prior
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20% of desisting offenders endorsed this belief
Many ex-offenders felt they were in better condition due to abstinence from drugs
The Genius-Age Link
Scientific productivity fades rapidly with age
Most significant contributions occur during the five years around age 30
An Evolutionary Process?
Competitive effort
Leads to productivity of different kinds
Increases one’s reproductive success
But, is it the same for everybody?
Where are the individual differences?
Burn out
Other biological changes
Unconscious desire for reproduction (evolutionary influences)
Different Trajectories within the Curve
Around 70% of offenders follow curve (Blokland et al., 2005; Piquero et al., 2001)
50% are in the process of desisting (Wiesner & Capaldi, 2003)
Age of onset important predictor in how long career lasts finish at same age (Ezell, 2007;
Francis et al., 2007)
Initial severity level and number of offences also important (Wiesner & Capaldi, 2003)
No smooth lines
But, still, some offenders desist while others persist…why?
For those who desist…how?
Desistance ≠ Reverse of Risk
Desistance cannot occur without history of crime
Early criminal history variables predict early adult offending, but lose predictive power
(Blumstein & Nakamura, 2009)
Variation in criminal career cannot be explained entirely by pre-criminal individual differences
Offenders report different risk/desistance factors (Lloyd et al., 2007)
What are the strengths?
Adult Opportunities/Variables
Substance recovery
Employment
Marriage
Shifts in thinking/beliefs
Substance Misuse
Giving up substances often key part of giving up crime
However, understanding the motivation & effort to become sober is not as clear cut
Recovery from addiction requires many internal & external resources/strengths
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Document Summary

Shows a sharp decline after age 30: adult criminal career, 6 years (blumstein & cohen, 1987, 17 years (ezell, 2007, wide variation, 4-30 years (piquero et al. , 2004) Lost contact with antisocial peers: decline in physical strength, maturation, change in social/institutional environment, cognitive changes/changes in subjective interpretation of environment. Learning to evade detection: change from illegal to legal antisocial activities, ongoing antisocial behavior that does not lead to arrest. 50% of active offenders believed they were in worse physical condition at time of interview compared to 5 years prior. 20% of desisting offenders endorsed this belief. Many ex-offenders felt they were in better condition due to abstinence from drugs. Scientific productivity fades rapidly with age: most significant contributions occur during the five years around age 30. Initial severity level and number of offences also important (wiesner & capaldi, 2003: no smooth lines. Desistance reverse of risk: desistance cannot occur without history of crime.

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