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Career Criminals in Society

Career Criminals in Society

February 2005 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

More than a century of scientific research has indicated that the majority of crime that occurs in society is committed by a small percentage of the population, meaning that most criminals are repeat offenders, or "career criminals." If societies devoted considerable resources toward preventing and neutralizing career criminals, there would be dramatic reductions in crime, the fear of crime, and the assorted costs and collateral consequences of crime.

Career Criminals in Society examines the small but dangerous group of repeat offenders who are most damaging to society. The book encourages readers to think critically about the causes of criminal behavior and the potential of the criminal justice system to reduce crime. Author Matt DeLisi draws upon his own practitioner experience, interviewing criminal defendants to argue that career criminals can be combated only with a combination of prevention efforts and retributive criminal justice system policies.

Key Features

  • Uses an engaging writing style to provide a comprehensive overview of career criminals
  • Provides chapter-opening vignettes developed from real criminal cases
  • Examines various crime prevention strategies to neutralize criminal careers
  • Explores the international relevance of career criminals
  • Draws upon research from the fields of criminal justice, criminology, psychology, sociology, and human development

With its controversial, thought-provoking style, Career Criminals in Society is sure to advance theory and research on chronic offenders and inspire discussions on how to adequately control crime. It is an excellent supplementary textbook for undergraduate and graduate courses on criminology, criminal behavior, crime typologies, deviant behavior, and crime control and prevention.

Chapter 1. Introduction, Two Glimpses at the Career Criminal
The Life of Crime

Overview of the Book

Practitioner Approach


Chapter 2. The Empirical Evidence of Career Criminals

Historical Background of Career Criminals

Biographies and Typological Studies

The Modern Criminal Career Paradigm

International Contributions

Career Criminal Characteristics

Summary: The Universality of Career Criminals


Chapter 3. Developmental Theory and Its Application
Overview of Developmental Theory

Patterson's Coercion Theory

Moffitt's Developmental Taxonomy

Sampson and Laub's Age-graded Theory of Informal Social Control and Cumulative Disadvantage

Thornberry's Interactional Theory

Social Development Model

Developmental Theory in Action: A Review of Some Successful Prevention Policies

Strategies that Help to Forestall Career Criminality



Chapter 4. The Challenges Posed by Propensity Theory
Overview of Propensity Theories as they relate to Career Criminals

The Implicit and Explicit Role of Psychopathological Conditions

Wilson and Herrnstein's Crime and Human Nature

Gottfredson and Hirschi's A General Theory of Crime

The Gottfredson and Hirschi Critiques

Theoretical Challenges and Summary Issues



Chapter 5. The Politics of Career Criminals

The Ethical Quandaries of Prediction

Media Portrayals of Career Criminals

The Criminological Significance of Career Criminals

The Sympathetic Life of Career Criminals

The Mercurial Criminal Justice System

Academics and Career Criminals

Constructing the Career Criminal



Chapter 6. The Criminal Justice System and Career Criminals
Introduction and Overview

The Police and Career Criminals

The Courts and Career Criminals

Corrections and Career Criminals

Capital Punishment and Career Criminals


Chapter 7. Conclusion, Do We Have the Will to Stop Career Criminals?

Prevention and the Conservative Compromise

Retributive Justice and the Liberal Compromise



Key features
1. Very readable overview of career criminals, a subject of great interest to students majoring in criminology or criminal justice.

2. Examines various crime prevention strategies to short circuit criminal careers.

3. Boxed inserts within each chapter have arrest records or arrest warrant information.

4. Chapters open with a vignette developed from real case histories motivate the reader to understand the importance of the chapter material about to be read

Sage College Publishing

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