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Lecture 14

PSYC 2400E - Lecture 14 - March 5, 2013.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 2400
Professor
Julie Dempsey
Semester
Winter

Description
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 – 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 Desistance & Life Factors • Employment – (Uggen, 2000) • Marriage – (Sampson & Laub, 2005) Marriage & Desistance • Differential Association – Disassociation with antisocial peers (Warr, 1998) • Social Control Theory – Stakes in conformity (Sampson & Laub, 2005) • Quality of Marital Attachment – Relationship quality (Laub et al., 1998; Maume et al., 2005) – Only enduring marriages associated with decreases in crime (Theobald & Farrington, 2010) Policy Implications? • Teach social skills needed to sustain relationships • Encourage commitment to relationship • Encourage children to consider benefits of marriage over other forms of partnerships (Theobald & Farrington,
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