Age-Graded Informal Social Controls

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Laub and Sampson (2003) believe that age-graded informal social controls are crucial in understanding persistence and desistance in offending, although more research is necessary. Laub and Sampson (2003) argue that certain turning points in life influence persistence and desistance in offending through informal social controls highly associated with the age of the individual via intervening mechanisms. The age-graded informal social control theory aims to explain persistence and desistance, thus explaining important aspects of crime over the life course. Persistence and desistance are explained through age-graded informal social controls such as marriage, employment, and military service and their accompanying intervening mechanisms making the relationship between informal social controls and persistence and desistance somewhat more complex. Laub and Sampson (2003) discuss the prominent theories of crime over the life course with an emphasis on the work of Terrie Moffitt. Moffitt (1993) attempted to explain life course persistence and some discontinuity. According to Moffitt (1993), there are two distinct categories of offenders concealed by early offending: adolescent-limited offenders and life-course persistent offenders. In this taxonomy, adolescent-limited offenders are those who offend temporarily and discontinue use while life-course persistent offenders are those who offend continuously, with an earlier beginning in delinquency (Moffitt 1993). Adolescent limited offenders only participate in antisocial behavior during adolescence while life-course persistent offenders participate in anti-social behavior throughout the life course beginning in early childhood and into adulthood (Moffitt 1993). Moffitt’s theory (1993) all... ... middle of paper ... ... create much room for improvement. In an effort to better understand desistance and persistence throughout the life-course, Laub and Sampson’s work is a decent starting point. More research is needed regarding the marriage effect, emotion, cognitive transformations, minorities, and women to better explain crime over the life-course. Works Cited Girodano, Peggy C., Ryan D. Schroeder, and Stephen A. Cerkovich. 2007. “Emotions and Crime over the Life Course: A Neo-Meadian Perspective on Criminal Continuity and Change.” American Journal of Sociology 112:1603-61. Kreager, Derek A., Ross L. Matsueda, and Elena A. Erosheva. 2010. “Motherhood and Criminal Desistance in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods.” Criminology 48:221-58. Laub, John and Robert J. Sampson. 2003. Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70. Boston: Harvard University Press.
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