A Life Course Analysis of the Relationship Between Military Service and Criminal Behavior

Leana C. Allen, Maryland at College Park
John H. Laub, University of Maryland at College Park

Historically, the military has played a major role in the lives of a large proportion of the U.S. population. To illustrate, it has served as one of the largest employers and educators of young men and women. Despite potential impact of military service in later life, little research attention has focused on this topic, particularly criminology. Joining the military interrupts the life course and may infuence the initiation, continuation, and cessation of offending. This study applies a life course framework to the question of how military service related to the process of criminal behavior. The main purpose of this research is to determine whether military service changes existing patterns of criminal behavior. For example, does military service increase criminal offending? Or conversely, does military service facilitate desistance from crime? Or finally, does the military merely provide another setting for the continuation of pre-military behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006