Essay On Linking Childhood Delinquency And Adult Crime
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Research suggests that antisocial behavior in childhood is a good predictor of antisocial behavior in adulthood. According to Simons, Simons, and Wallace (2004), children who are generally uncompliant and aggressive in their elementary school years are at a higher risk for both adolescent delinquency as well as adult criminal behavior.
There are two general perspectives that can be used to explain this trend as postulated by Nagin, Paternoster, and Farrington. The first is known as the population heterogeneity and emphasizes that the behavior of an individual over the life course reflects the differences between individuals. Additionally, these characteristics are established early on in life and actually remain stable over time (Linking Childhood Delinquency and Adult Crime: Life Course Perspectives on Antisocial Behavior, 2015). The criminals in the societies are created by some bad forces that happened early on in their life. The second perspective is related to the state-dependent theories that generally assume that the commission of antisocial acts increase the probability or chances of one engaging in future criminal behavior.
In addition, the self-control theory is a predictor of criminal behavior in adulthood. According to this theory, the individuals who begin to commit acts of crime from an early age and who continue offending through their lives do that because they lack the element of self-control (Simons, Simons, and Wallace, 2004). The parents are charged with the task of instilling self-control in their children and those who practice inept parenting risk directing their children towards a life of crime and delinquency.
In addition, Capsi, Silva and Moffitt (2001) show that social ties during childhood and adolescence can also predict adult’s propensity for crime. The authors conducted a study where they found that pro-social ties that include employment, education, partnerships and family ties generally led to the deterrence of crime while antisocial ties, for example, delinquent peers, inadvertently encourage criminal behavior. This effect was found to be higher in individuals with low self-control.
These findings, therefore, raise questions such as: How can parents instill self-control in their children from a young age in order to prevent them from being attracted to a life of crime in the future? Is it possible for individuals with low self-control during their adulthood to gain it in their adulthood and, therefore, refrain from criminal tendencies?
“Linking Childhood Delinquency and Adult Crime: Life Course Perspectives on Antisocial Behavior”. Families and Crime. (CCJ 4931). 2015.
Simons, R.L., Simons, L.G., and Wallace, L.E. (2004). Families, Delinquency, and Crime: Linking Society’s Most Basic Institution to Antisocial Behavior. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury. (ISBN 1- 931719-30-6).
Wright, B. R. E., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Silva, P. A. (2001). The Effects of Social Ties on Crime Vary by Criminal Propensity: A Life‐Course Model of Interdependence. Criminology, 39(2), 321-348.
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