Saturday, April 14, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, April 14, 2007


NCJ 217613
Alex R. Piquero ; Terrie E. Moffitt ; Bradley E. Wright
Self-Control and Criminal Career Dimensions
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume:23 Issue:1 Dated:February 2007 Pages:72 to 89

This study explored whether self-control is equally related to a variety of criminal career dimensions (participation, frequency, persistence, and desistance) as well as whether self-control distinguishes between crime persistence and desistance. The results indicate support for Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) contention that low self-control equally predicts all dimensions of criminal behavior, including criminal participation, frequency, persistence, and desistance. Specific results indicated that males were more likely than females to participate in criminal activities. However, males and females did not differ in degrees of criminal persistence once crime participation was initiated. Other findings revealed that self-control was able to distinguish between crime persisters and crime desisters, with desisters exhibiting higher levels of self-control. The findings suggest that the causes of crime and their related career patterns appear to be more similar than different. Data were drawn from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Human Development Study of children born between April 1972 and March 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand. The study administered a battery of psychological, medical, and sociological tests to 1,037 participants at ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, and 26. Additional data were collected from their parents, teachers, informants, and trained observers. Conviction data were examined for 985 of the 1,037 participants. Key dependent variables under analysis were crime participation, frequency, persistence, and desistance. The key independent variable was self-control. During childhood, self-control was measured through control-irritability-distractibility, impulsivity, lack of persistence, inattention, hyperactivity, and anti-social behavior. During adolescence, self-control was measured through impulsivity, hyperactivity, inattention, physical response to conflict, and risk taking. Data analysis involved the estimations of a Probit model for crime participation and a Tobit model for crime frequency. Future research should examine the relationship between childhood risk, social bonds, and the dimensions of criminal careers. Tables, notes, references

NCJ 217614
Michael Massoglia ; Christopher Uggen
Subjective Desistance and the Transition to Adulthood
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume:23 Issue:1 Dated:February 2007 Pages:90 to 103

This article introduced two new measures of crime desistance and compared them to more established crime desistance measures. Results indicated that the prevalence and predictors of crime desistance were different with the new measures of desistance. Specifically, relationship quality was consistently related to each crime desistance measure, but the effects of prior crime, peer relationships, race, gender, and parental status varied with the outcome under consideration. The findings indicated the generality of the desistance process and the necessity of comparing accounts of this process with official and self-reported behavioral measures. As such, the authors cannot recommend the adoption of one crime desistance measure over the others. Rather, the specific measure of crime desistance should be based on the theoretical question under examination. To evaluate the new measures of crime desistance proposed in this article, data were drawn from the Youth Development Study (YDS), a longitudinal survey of 1,000 students who attended public schools in Saint Paul, MN during the 1980s. Beginning during their freshmen year in high school, participants provided information about their school, work, family activities, civic participation, and delinquent involvement. In 2002, when most respondents were aged 29 to 30 years, information was collected about crime desistance and transition to adulthood. Distinctions were made between official desistance, measured through arrest records, and behavioral desistance, measured by self-reports. The prediction of desistance through the different measures was analyzed using logistic regression models. Future research should reconsider the role of demographic variables and life course markers, such as family structure and work quality, in predicting the process of crime desistance. Tables, figure, notes, references

NCJ 217615
Shadd Maruna ; Kevin Roy
Amputation or Reconstruction?: Notes on the Concept of "Knifing Off" and Desistance From Crime
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume:23 Issue:1 Dated:February 2007 Pages:104 to 124

This article analyzes the concept and process of “knifing off” and its relation to desistance from crime. The phrase “knifing off” has become common in criminological discussions, yet it remains poorly defined. For the most part, knifing off refers to a process in which individuals change their lives by severing themselves from harmful environments, people, and even the past itself. The authors assert that the concept of knifing off can be useful for understanding crime desistance and self-change. Yet, further refinement and clarification of the knifing off process is necessary for fully developing and employing this concept within the criminological research literature. Toward this end, the authors offer recommendations for developing the concept of knifing off for theories of crime desistance. These recommendations place primary importance on the significance of life scripts for constructing a noncriminal future. It is also necessary to establish whether the knifing off process is causally related to crime desistance. For example, is knifing off necessary or sufficient for crime desistance to occur? Finally, tentative conclusions are offered regarding the developing of knifing off as a criminological concept: (1) knifing off opportunities need to be addressed rather than unspecified concepts related to the past and to circumstances; (2) knifing off may be understood as occurring on a spectrum; (3) the term knifing off should be reserved for extreme structural and social impediments; (4) knifing off should be understood as only one of a number of self-change processes; (5) knifing off alone is not a sufficient explanation for behavioral change; and (6) knifing off works best when accompanied by clear scripts for a noncriminal future. Future research should examine the concept of “script for the future” and the process of developing a future script. Figure, note, references

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