The Criminal Career

  • William Spelman
Part of the The Plenum Series in Crime and Justice book series (PSIC)


The effectiveness of selective strategies depends to large extent on the length of time the average criminal remains active. It is easy to see why: If the average “career” were long—say, 20 years or so—then a judge could pass sentences of 5 or 7 years with relative impunity, confident that most offenders would very likely have committed crimes throughout their incarceration period had they been free. On the other hand, if most adult offenders went straight 5 years after they began to commit crimes, much of a 5-year sentence would very likely be wasted unless the offenders were convicted immediately after they started. So the average length of a criminal career might matter a great deal.


Dropout Rate Offense Rate Young Offender Criminal Career Career Length 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Spelman
    • 1
  1. 1.Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public AffairsUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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