The study of criminal careers is of increasing interest in criminology. It is now generally recognised that it is important to try to understand criminal behaviour across the life-course rather than focusing on fragmented incidents which provide only a partial picture. This is an accessible text which clarifies the crucial theoretical and methodological debates surrounding the study of criminal careers. It focuses on some major longitudinal studies discussing the onset, persistence, desistance and the duration of a criminal career. The important topics of prediction, risk and specialisation are addressed. The challenging question of 'When do ex-offenders become like non-offenders?' points a way forward. The book concludes by proposing an even more ambitious approach to the topic of criminal careers.
Keith Soothill is Emeritus Professor of Social Research at the University of Lancaster. Claire Fitzpatrick is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Lancaster. Brian Francis is Professor of Social Statistics at the University of Lancaster.
1. Introduction 2. The Great Debate: Competing Theoretical Approaches and Methodological Issues 3. The Great Solution? The Major Longitudinal Studies 4. When Does It All Start? The Onset of a Criminal Career 5. How Long Does It Last? Persistence, Desistence and the Duration of a Criminal Career 6. Specialisation 7. Dangerousness - Prediction and Risk 8. When Do Ex-offenders Become Like Non-offenders? 9. What's Wrong With Criminal Careers? Moving Forward