A great deal is known about the early precursors of offending in general, but much less is known about early factors which discriminate between high rate and low rate offenders. Childhood antisocial behaviour, criminal parents and siblings, indicators of social deprivation such as low income, and low intelligence and attainment predict both offending and high rate offending. Many of the future chronic offenders could have been predicted by these factors at the time of their first conviction. However, child rearing factors such as poor parental supervision, harsh or erratic parental discipline, and parental conflict are excellent predictors of offending in general but not of high rate as opposed to low rate offending. Little is known about protective factors which might prevent high risk children from becoming high rate offenders.
This study sets out to verify to what extent the evaluations of the behaviour of children by their peers in first year primary school make it possible to predict those who will eventually end up with an open record at the Juvenile Court. During their first year at school the children are classified according to the following categories : aggressive, socially withdrawn, aggressive-withdrawn, neither aggressive/nor withdrawn (contrast). A total of 992 subjects (493 girls and 499 boys) were evaluated at two different times during the study. The results indicate that the “aggressive-withdrawn” subjects, among the girls, are more likely to have an open record at the Court during the 7 or 8 years after having been evaluated in first year primary school. These findings may indicate that the girls whose behaviour is aberrant are more easily identified by their peers, given the fact that they generally have fewer problems of adaptation than the boys during their first year of school.
The paper presents the results of a meta-analysis to analyze which predictors of delinquency in males and females are consistently evident from longitudinal studies, and how the predictors compare in their predictive efficiency. The results show that a variety of conduct problems but also conditions within the family are predictive of later delinquency in general, recidivism, or serious offenses. As a rule, composite indicators of risk factors outperformed single indicators. Data is presented on the early identification of chronic offenders. The results are critically examined in terms of error rates, and in terms of future directions for research.
The concept of a criminal «career» is being used more and more in the recent criminological literature. This article analyzes the pertinence of explaining this concept by its specific components. To do this, the criminal activities of a sample of adolescents and a group of wards of the Montreal Court between the ages of seven and twenty-five are described (precocity, frequency, variety, gravity, aggravation, violence, duration). Two stages were detected in the criminal career, their degree of stability and paths of development. The dynamics of the criminal activity are described. Finally, the predictability of an intensification of criminal activities is analyzed. Given the high degree of stability, predictability and mobility (marked by aggravation of the criminal activity), we conclude that recourse to the concept of a criminal career is essential to a better understanding and more accurate diagnosis of the process of acting out.
Discussions of dangerousness generally tend to be concentrated on the danger of violence in particular. The effective prediction of violent behaviour, if, indeed, it is the best guage of the objectivity of our knowledge of this phenomenon, is nonetheless an extremely difficult task. This article gives us an idea of some of the most current obstacles that confront the undertaking of prediction. Some additional thoughts follow, based on the author's earlier work on the subject.