This new theory of crime over the life course provides an important foundation for rethinking criminal justice policy. It is based on the reanalysis of a classic set of data: Sheldon and Eleanor Gluecks' mid-century study of 500 delinquents and 500 nondelinquents from childhood to adulthood. Several years ago, Robert Sampson and John Laub dusted off sixty cartons of the Gleucks' data that had been stored in the basement of the Harvard Law School and undertook a lengthy process of recoding, computerizing, and reanalyzing it. On the basis of their findings, they developed a theory of informal social control that acknowledges the importance of childhood behavior but rejects the implication that adult social factors have little relevance. This theory accounts for both stability and change in crime and deviance throughout the life course.
Robert J. Sampson is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Harvard University. John H. Laub is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.
Introduction 1. Toward an Age-graded Theory of Informal Social Control 2. Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency and Follow-up Studies 3. Restoring, Supplementing, and Validating the Data 4. The Family Context of Juvenile Delinquency 5. The Role of School, Peers, and Siblings 6. Continuity in Behavior over Time 7. Adult Social Bonds and Change in Criminal Behavior 8. Comparative Models of Crime and Deviance 9. Exploring Life Histories 10. Summing Up and Looking Ahead Appendix: Interview with the Gluecks' Original Research Staff Notes References Index