Testing Two Theories of Criminal Careers: A Criminal Career Profile Approach
Criminal career research has emerged as a field interested in determining the factors related to the onset, frequency, duration, maintenance, and desistance of criminal behaviour (Blumstein & Cohen, 1987; Blumstein, Cohen, & Farrington, 1988). Various theories have been developed to account for these components of the criminal career, and the present research aims to examine the desistance components of two such theories in a sample of high risk adult offenders. Looking first at Moffitt’s (1993) adolescencelimited/ life-course persistent perspective, and then at Laub and Sampson’s (1993; Sampson & Laub, 2005) theory of informal social controls, there is limited evidence that either frequency of conviction or criminal career seriousness in high risk adult offenders can be explained well by reference to either of these theories alone. Although components of each theory appear to have some support within this sample, it is important to note that the prediction of future seriousness appears to be particularly difficult. Implications of these findings are discussed, with particular reference to policy concerns and areas for additional research.