Determine criminals persistent offending

Assignment task:

Look at what others have said and respond with your original opinions. Please don't just repeat what you've read.

1.  Good post, but a very heart-wrenching story. School shootings are too prominent in the United States, and I believe more can be done as it relates to ensuring proper security measures on school compounds to lessen or prevent these incidents. How is it possible for a student to be able to come onto the compound with some many weapons so frequently and get away with it? Maybe we need to start implementing a main security checkpoint or a strict system that students must go through like that at the airports. If this was the case maybe Adam could not have gotten through with this crime. Recently, I was watching the news and I noticed several superintendents or authorities mentioned the lack of resources/budgets for school security, which should not be the case and calls for great concern. People like Adam, regardless of the underlining factors mentioned by both theories that may have directed his attention to a life of crime and the killing of six instructors and 20 pupils, such an act could be possibly avoided. Also, why is it so often difficult to pinpoint these culprits in schools before the act? There must be some signs or indications during the child's tenure at school that indicate some need for immediate intervention before the act.

2.  Up to the age of 4, when he had surgery to treat a double hernia, Jeffrey Dahmer's early years were regarded as active and joyful. He appeared to have been influenced by the terrible and agonizing post-operative recovery, and he became markedly quiet. After the birth of his younger brother and the family's repeated moves, he started to retreat more and more. He went from being a happy, outgoing child to a reclusive, introverted loner as his personality started to shift. His facial expressions changed from innocent, childlike smiles to an indifferent, emotionless face that he carried with him for the rest of his life. What might have caused him to shift in his youth is difficult to predict. On the other hand, it's conceivable that if he had received adequate mental health care he may not have committed the crimes that he did.

3. The offender I will be using for my answer is Ted Bundy, whose criminal actions can be analyzed using life course theory and latent trait theory. Life course theories see criminality as "a dynamic process, influenced by a multitude of individual characteristics, traits, and social experiences" (Siegel, 2018). This theory says that Bundy's early family dynamics, such as thinking that his mother was actually his sister, and important life events like a bad breakup, could have guided his next behaviors. On the other hand, latent trait theories say that criminal behavior is controlled by a master trait, present at birth or soon after" (Siegel, 2018). This would suggest that Bundy lacking empathy at an early age and his manipulative behavior were pre-determined traits that were unavoidable and subsequently made him more likely to commit criminal behavior. As people mature from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, the traits are always there, dictating their behavior and shaping their life.

4. One's trajectory in life can be impacted by a variety of variables, especially when it comes to engaging in criminal behavior. It's important to understand that every person's condition is different from another, so what works for one person might not be effective for someone else. If people who have committed crimes are given better living circumstances and chances to develop their social capital, they may be able to change their criminal career trajectory (Siegel, 2017). A life of crime can be influenced by several factors including poverty, lack of resources, education, unfavorable peers, family relationships, and mental health. To change criminal trajectory, stable marriages, positive educational experiences, improved life circumstances, healthy relationships and role models, and successful careers provide individuals with opportunities to improve their lives and build social capital (Siegel, 2017). Such interventions can be effective in helping people be less motivated towards criminal behavior and turn their lives around to break free from a life of crime.

5. When considering factors that change a criminal's trajectory in their life course, several ideas stand out to me. Most importantly, positive relationships because they can redirect someone's path by exposing them to healthier environments and beneficial influences (Siegel, 2018). A stable job is also crucial, as it provides routine, purpose, and most crucial, financial security. Financial security is often ignored as a motivation for crime, but it is one that must be addressed. A steady job goes hand in hand with education, which offers not just skills but broadens perceptions, offering a larger worldview. People who have access to proper education are then far more likely to continue furthering their education and therefore get into secure careers (Siegel, 2018). Psychological interventions, like therapy, can help individuals address deeply rooted issues. For some people, rites of passage like parenting or joining a religion can provide external motivating factors to better themselves. More external support, such as community programs, can offer guidance and a sense of belonging, leading to a better path. I believe it takes a mix of internal motivation and external support to successfully alter an individual's criminal trajectory (Siegel, 2018).

6.  Based on my research, Teen marijuana use does affect life-course offending. When a teen engages in marijuana use it increases the likelihood of that person being addicted by its usage and thus develops into a substance disorder over the life course. It affects a person's mental state and impairs their thinking, and they normally act out aggressively and violently. Marijuana is considered a gateway drug and its usage is very prevalent among teens in schools. This substance use in both males and females is a contributing factor often associated with violent crime. Substance use behaviors do affect life-course offending, as consuming the drug may result in behavioral changes in a person over their life course leading to a pathway of persistent offending (Gamarel et al., 2019).

In 600 words, analyze life course offenders using developmental theories of crime by doing the following:

Find an example of a person who is or was a life course offender (someone with a very long criminal history, serial killers, etc.).

  • Determine if the criminal's persistent offending can be explained using life course, latent trait, and trajectory theories.
  • If any of those three theories do not account for the criminal's persistent offending, explain why.
  • Explain which of the three theories best account for this criminal's persistent offending.

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