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Lecture

Mar 26c.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2700
Professor
C Yule

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March 26 , 2013 Developmental Theories (Life-Course) What do we know about Offenders? -small group of offenders (6-25%) are responsible for majority of crime -patterns of offending in childhood and adolescence are related to adulthood offending -we also know that many who did offend in adolescence do not go on to offend in adulthood -patterns of offending can be identified through the identification of behaviours related to offending pathways -ex. guest speaker, women’s and men’s pathways into crime -these are key ideas developmental theorists start with Developmental and Life Course Theories -human personality and behavioural patterns emerge through a developmental process, beginning at birth and unfolding onwards -until recently, most criminologists have ignored this insight -more concerned with what happens when individuals are placed in a particular context (family, community, etc.) -the life-course perspectives -how a persons life unfolds as they move through different contexts -evolution of criminality over time -developmental perspective as dynamic -looking for change -push to think beyond just particular snapshots of life -views human development across the life span -childhood, adolescent, and adult experiences are a continuous process of change -individuals progress within culturally defined roles and social transitions that are age-graded -trajectories or pathways=the avenue of development over time; long- term patterns of development in social institutions (ex. educational career) -transitions=short-term changes in social roles within long-term trajectories (ex. divorce) -some key life course transitions—job loss/economic hardship, victimization (in childhood or an adult), military service (one way to pull someone on an offending trajectory out of crime), death, events can be good or bad in relation to crime -the individual is the unit of analysis in this theory -developmental theories try to account for offender careers and their relationship with age -various factors influence change: individual factors, family factors, school factors, peer groups and community factors Moffitt’s Developmental Theory (1993) -close inspection of crime rate trends over the life course indicate that there are 2 types of offenders -adolescent limited offenders—antisocial behaviour is temporary and situational -begin offending in adolescence but stop as they move into adulthood -life course persistent offenders—antisocial behaviour is permanent and stable -continuity in their behaviour before and beyond adolescence -you can identify these 2 based on the age of onset and the trajectory/pathway of their conduct problems (type of behaviours they engage in) -she says these 2 groups are different enough that they require separate/distinct causal explanations -timing and duration of offending is critical aspect between the types of offenders— stable vs. unstable behaviour Defining the Life Course Persistent Offender -underlying trait that begins at very early age and continues throughout life and underlies a variety of problem behaviours -age 4—biting and hitting -age 10—truancy and shoplifting -age 16—sell drugs/steal cars -age 22—robbery and rape -age 30—fraud and child abuse -escalation of crime over time -persistence of other problem behaviours throughout life: drug addiction, homelessness, unstable relationships, domestic violence, and mental illness -these types of offenders are engaging in problematic behaviour whether it be criminal or deviant across different settings (fights on the playground, skipping school, lying, etc.) Factors Related to Life Course Persistence -small % of the population -end up constituting around 50% of referrals to authorities or mental health services -experience peer rejection, their behaviour is disruptive -lack the social skills to build relationships, poor interpersonal and social skills -hyperactive attention problems, impulsive behaviour -tend to have below average intelligence -individual differences in neuropsychological functions of infant nervous system -what can cause these differences to occur?
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