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Explaining Criminal Careers: Implications for Justice Policy

John F. MacLeod, Peter Grove, and David Farrington


Explaining Criminal Careers presents a simple quantitative theory of crime, conviction and reconviction, the assumptions of the theory are derived directly from a detailed analysis of cohort samples drawn from the “UK Home Office” Offenders Index (OI). Mathematical models based on the theory, together with population trends, are used to make: exact quantitative predictions of features of criminal careers; aggregate crime levels; the prison population; and to explain the age-crime curve, alternative explanations are shown not to be supported by the data. Previous research is reviewed, clearly i ... More

Keywords: Criminal Careers, theory of crime, conviction, reconviction, Offenders Index, OI, prison population, age-crime curve, recidivism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199697243
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697243.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John F. MacLeod, author
Visiting Scholar, Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University

Peter Grove, author
Senior Principal Analyst, Department of Health, UK

David Farrington, author
Professor of Psychological Criminology, Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University