Winner, 2020 DLC Outstanding Contribution Award, given by the American Society of Criminology An exploration of criminal trajectories, placing them in a developmental context
Over the past several years, notions of developmental trajectories—particularly criminal trajectories—have taken hold as important areas of investigation for researchers interested in the longitudinal study of crime. This accessible volume presents the first full-length overview of criminal trajectories as a concept and methodology and makes the case for a developmental approach to the topic.
The volume shows how a developmental perspective is important from a practical standpoint, helping to inform the design of prevention and early intervention programs to forestall the onset of antisocial and criminal activity, particularly when it begins in childhood. Crime in this view does not suit a one-size-fits-all model. There are different types of criminals who develop as the result of different types of developmental factors and experiences. By considering what risk factors may set the stage for later crimes in certain circumstances, the authors argue that we may be able to intervene at any point along the life course and, if addressed early enough, prevent criminal behavior from taking root.
Criminal Trajectories offers a comprehensive synthesis of the findings from numerous criminal trajectory studies, presented through a multi-disciplinary lens. It addresses the policy and practice implications of these findings for the criminal justice system—including a critique of current sentencing and incarceration practices—and presents twelve recommendations informed by developmental frameworks for future work.
David M. Day is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He is a registered psychologist who received his PhD in 1990 in applied social psychology from the University of Windsor. His research interests are in the areas of developmental criminology, risky behavior among young people, and access to justice for crossover youth.
Margit Wiesner is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences at the University of Houston. She received her PhD in developmental psychology in 1999 from the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany. Her research interests include longitudinal modeling of trajectories of offending and substance use, youth violence exposure, and measurement invariance of mental health screening instruments.
As the culmination of 25 years of criminal trajectory research, this work claims new capability for 'linking past events to future outcomes' through the authors' commitment to engaging developmental theory [...] This highly theoretical work will interest students and scholars of developmental psychology, life-course criminology, and risk and resilience studies.