Violence, Recidivism and Patterns of Achievement in Criminal Careers

Clement Robitaille, Service de recherche et de Lutte
Pierre Tremblay, Universite de Montreal

In this paper, we reanalyze the rich data set provided by Rand's 1978 jail and prison inmate survey. Our distinctive focus is that we analyze individual differences in reported criminal earnings across property and market offenders (n=1260) Our first finding is that the higher the offenders criminal earnings (prior to current incarceration) the higher the odds of recidivism (based on Rand's six years follow probe). Our second finding is that specialization, status, strategic offending, (rather than types of offences), self confidence, and lack of self reported alcoholic abuse all contribute to increase the likelihood of a successful criminal career. Our third finding is that offenders who have a record of violence are more likely than other offenders (who do not have such a record) to achieve higher criminal earnings. Indeed, the higher their lambdas of violence, the higher their illegal earnings.

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Updated 05/20/2006