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Identifying Career Offenders Using Self-Reported Data

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 21 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1984) Pages: 57-86
Date Published
30 pages
Self-reported delinquency data from a national youth panel were used to develop a career offender typology. Seven birth cohorts aged 11-17 at the first of five annual interviews provided the data for the study.
The assumption that a career in delinquency implies continuity of involvement across time as well as the frequency with which illegal acts are committed was taken into account in the identification of four classes of offenders. The typology was validated using official arrest histories, social psychological predictor measures known to be associated with delinquent behavior, self-reported delinquency scales, and demographic variables. Offender typologies based upon official arrest and self-reported delinquency data were then compared. The findings indicate that the number of career offenders identified using official arrest data is only a fraction of the number identified using self-reported data. The partitioning of subjects into career offenders, noncareer offenders, and nonoffenders is quite different when using a self-reported compared to an official arrest measure of criminal involvement. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1984