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The Development of Persistent Criminality$
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Joanne Savage

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310313

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310313.001.0001

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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Persistent Female Offending: A Review of Theory and Research

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Persistent Female Offending: A Review of Theory and Research

(p.204) (p.205) CHAPTER 10 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Persistent Female Offending: A Review of Theory and Research
The Development of Persistent Criminality

Asha Goldweber

Lisa M. Broidy

Elizabeth Cauffman

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews evidence documenting a persistent female offender group and their characteristics. Though small, this group has some defining characteristics. Overall, the evidence shows that fewer girls compared to boys follow the early onset, chronic offending pathway. For persistent female offenders, delinquency begins early and is more serious, frequent, and consistent than average female offending. However, the offending trajectories of this group end more abruptly in adulthood compared to those of persistent male offenders. Compared to their male counterparts, chronic female offenders also tend to engage in more nonviolent (particularly drug) offenses. Despite some gendered variation in offending patterns, research indicates that the majority of risk/protective factors are gender invariant. The chapter does, however, highlight those risk factors that are particularly salient for girls (e.g., brain asymmetry, comorbid mental health problems, early interpersonal victimization, and adversarial interpersonal relationships). We then examine how female persisters fare in adulthood, both in general and compared to their male counterparts. Among the most troubling outcomes for this group are violent relationships, early/poor parenting, and higher mortality rates. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the interpersonal and societal costs of chronic female offending and a call for more research and policy attention directed toward this particularly troubled group.

Keywords:   female offending, female delinquency, chronic offending, life-course criminology, developmental trajectory, criminal careers, risk factors, victimization, family, protective factors, substance abuse

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