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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.

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.

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




Matthew J. DeLisi

Matt DeLisi is College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Professor, Coordinator of Criminal Justice Studies, Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Faculty Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University. A renowned scholar, Professor DeLisi is one of the most influential and prolific criminologists in the world with over 400 scholarly publications on an array of topics in the social, behavioral, and forensic sciences. In 2012, Dr. DeLisi received the prestigious Fellow Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences for distinguished teaching and research achievement. In 2019, Dr. DeLisi received... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412905541

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