Criminal Careers


The Compact Oxford English Dictionary the study of crime is defined as “an offense against an individual or the state which is punishable by law; such actions collectively; informal something shameful or deplorable”. Norms come in different forms; potentially criminal acts can be judged against formal moral systems, such as religious beliefs. Under certain circumstances some legally-defined crimes might not be unacceptable when judged against the norms, codes and conventions of socially-acceptable behavior. In other terms a crime is an act or behavior that violates or breaches the rule of political; moral or criminal laws and is liable for punishment and public prosecution. Increasing rate of unemployment is a possible major problem of increasing crime rate. No criminal is by birth a criminal but it is the circumstances which make him do it.

High ambitions are also the one source for crime. A person who has high ambitions like if they want to enjoy all the comforts of life or want to achieve the high status in their life, they would want to complete them at any cost and any unfair means to fulfill their wish. To make their wishes come true or to enjoy the luxuries of life they can come in the way of crime, as it seems to be an easy direction of earning what they want. When they do act upon crime their first time, then the advantages of crime compel them to commit such acts again and again. Another important influence that has made crime at ease is the advancement of technology, which is also one of the reasons for increasing of crime rate. This is because technology advancements have broadened the minds of people and they can better think of ways to better commit their crimes.

Regardless, crime has multiple meanings which have been socially constructed. The most important differences in the meanings of crime occur between strictly legal definitions and those that relate crime to the breaking of other codes and conventions which can be standardized definitions. These may be formal moral codes such as religions or informal codes of socially-acceptable behavior. Many legally-defined crimes are considered to be legitimate acts in other contexts. These differences explain why many legally-defined criminal acts do not result in prosecution or imprisonment. So crime can simultaneously be normal and abnormal. A fuller explanation requires looking at the social processes involved in getting from an act to a conviction and further asking how is it that at each stage of the process, social forces construct and shape choices and decisions made by individuals?

Since the early studies of Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck, the concept of the Criminal Careers has been well know around this great country and the world. Most generically, the criminal career is conceived of as the sequence of delinquent and criminal acts committed by an individual as the individual ages across the lifespan from childhood through adolescence and adulthood. Participation is measure of the proportion of the population that is involved in offending behavior, while frequency is the rate of offending for those individuals who are active offenders Seriousness refers to the level of seriousness of the offenses being committed by a given individual, while career length refers to the length of time that an individual is actively offending. When aggregated across individuals, criminal careers typically exhibit a unimodal age crime curve for the population.

Frequency, seriousness, and career length can vary greatly among individuals, who may range from having zero offenses across the lifespan to having one offense of a non serious nature to being chornic or career criminals with multiple, serious offenses across a broad span of their lives. In the United States, Blumstein and others (1986) suggested that population-level participation rates vary between 25 and 45 percent, depending on how "participation" is measured. Visher and Roth, in a meta-analysis of studies on both United States and British participation rates, found that the level of participation is about 30 percent for non-traffic related offenses. Averages are higher or lower depending on the measure of participation, which can range from the mild contact with the police to the more stringent measure of convicted of a crime.

However, despite this consensus on the definition of the criminal career and the career criminal and the aggregate level age-crime curve typically found, controversy has emerged across many other areas within criminal careers research. For example, do juvenile delinquents criminals comprise a unique segment of the population or is delinquency a behavior that is a typical part of the growing-up process, from which most adults desist? Are criminal propensities relatively constant across the lifespan or do they vary with age
Studying criminal careers implies the use of longitudinal panel data. In criminology, this has been difficult due to a lack of available resources, hampering the development of testable theories. As Sampson and Laub point out, criminology has been dominated by narrow sociological and psychological perspectives, coupled with a strong tradition of research using cross-sectional data on adolescents. This combination of a lack of data and limited theoretical perspectives and methodological techniques has particularly hampered the ability to understand the criminal career, which is both longitudinal and dynamic in nature.

Crime is here to stay because so many jobs depend on it. From academic ivory towers to gritty mean streets, the criminal justice system is a growth industry. Whether chasing speeders or hunting down serial killers, policing is big business. The uniformed cop on the street is the tip of the human resource iceberg. To their numbers can be added detective and criminalist teams, then civilian staff ranging from technicians and auto mechanics to bean counters and file clerks. Law enforcement budgets are further swollen by equipment costs. Think only of the average police patrol car, often equipped with radios, onboard computers and cameras. Nor are those police stations built with only a few thousand dollars. Think millions, lots of millions. Not enough: multiply by levels of jurisdiction--local, state provincial, national. In the United States we have the FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE, Border Patrol, on and on, and these are just federal. Calling it all Homeland Security doesn't reduce the bottom line. If anything, it adds another level of cost. Nor is all of this enough. How about by law enforcement? Meter maids, dog catchers, anti-smoking and anti-noise sleuths, and, of course, the army of civilian security guards in our malls and warehouse districts. For serious felonies and misdemeanors, arrest doesn't end the cost. Now come phalanxes of lawyers and judges, plus their support staff, their equipment, and their buildings. Many of these are definitely high-priced help. They securely argue that justice must be seen to be done and in nations of laws this is essential. Conviction for a crime may result in probation. More workers and infrastructure are needed to fill this niche in the supply chain. Or there's imprisonment, and here, the costs get very heavy. Local lock-ups, county provincial jails, state and federal prisons. Thousands more workers, plus operating and capital costs. Yet, build it and they will come isn't just a motivator for more fields of dreams. It also works for prison construction. Of what use is a prison without inmates? Moreover, many prisons are now operated by private for-profit contractors. At the end of imprisonment may come parole. That means parole supervisors, their support staff, and their infrastructure. Nor can halfway houses be forgotten. Not so much topping up all of this, but actually helping to get the budgetary ball rolling and keep it rolling are social scientists, trainers, instructors, seminar leaders, etcetera. Indirect costs, to keep the system operative are the Shadowland of criminal justice--items like insurance, health care, family relief, and victim compensation. Finally, the system is a bureaucracy; for that matter, many intertwined bureaucracies. Bureacracies do two things, for sure: they self-perpetuate and they grow. In this case, crime and criminals are the feed stock.

To conclude there are many aspects to which we can factor in are thoughts of the criminal justice system. We as the people rarely take a look into what work is being done behind the scene, money being spent, all the agencies invouled in cutting downon the crime throughout the country. It’s great to explore and dig deep into history in order to see what improvement have been made also, what has came up new and what is lacking in shutting down a lot more of the crime.

Reference
(2010). Uniform Crime Reports. Journal of Security Letter , New York : Jan 2010 Vol. 40, Iss. 1; part 2 page 1 fhttp://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1950371201&sid=4&Fmt=2&clientId=74379&RQT=309&VName=PQD
Dansie Fargo, E.J. (April, 2009). Crime prevention community safety. Social Criminal Justice, pp. 124, 17.

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