SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Petkovsek, M. A., Boutwell, B. B., Barnes, J. C., & Beaver, K. M. (2015). Moffitt’s developmental taxonomy and gang membership: An alternative test of the snares hypothesis. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 14, 335–349.

Abstract: Moffitt’s taxonomy remains an influential theoretical framework within criminology. Despite much empirical scrutiny, comparatively less time has been spent testing the snares component of Moffitt’s work. Specifically, are there factors that might engender continued criminal involvement for individuals otherwise likely to desist? The current study tested whether gang membership increased the odds of contact with the justice system for each of the offender groups specified in Moffitt’s original developmental taxonomy. Our findings provided little evidence that gang membership increased the odds of either adolescence-limited or life-course persistent offenders being processed through the criminal justice system. Moving forward, scholars may wish to shift attention to alternative variables—beyond gang membership—when testing the snares hypothesis.

Journal Article 2: Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (2016). Turning points and the future of life-course criminology: Reflections on the 1986 Criminal Careers Report. Journal of Research on Crime and Delinquency, 53, 321–335.

Abstract: In 1986, the National Research Council published a two-volume report, Criminal Careers andCareer Criminals.” This work generated fierce debates central to the field of criminology and pitted some of the biggest names in the business against one another. In this paper, we consider the last 30 years and ask whether the report was an intellectual turning point. Our answer is that while the report did change the methodological direction of criminology, it lacked a theoretical explanation of the dynamics of crime. After the report was published, several efforts attempted to fill this breach. We reflect on the role that the Criminal Careers report played in our own work, from the time of the report’s release to the development and assessment of what is now known as the age-graded theory of informal social control and the broader field of “life-course criminology.”

Journal Article 3: Berg, M. T., & Cobbina, J. E. (2016). Cognitive transformation, social ecological settings, and the reentry outcomes of women offenders. Crime and Delinquency, 63, 1522–1546.

Abstract: Of theoretical interest to research on reentry and desistance is the intersection of cognitive transformation and the ecological contexts to which offenders return. The majority of offenders released from prisons in the United States return to impoverished neighborhood settings. However, there is a limited understanding of how offenders with different cognitive commitments to change interpret and negotiate the prosocial and illicit features situated in their environments. Drawing on different lines of theoretical research, we examine how cognitive commitments are affected by the lures and prosocial features of impoverished neighborhoods and how the intersection of these conditions affects success and failure in the post-release period. We use original survey and in-depth qualitative interviews with 37 incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women from St. Louis, Missouri. Findings suggest that an integrated examination of cognitive mechanisms and residential environments clarifies how offenders who return to similarly structurally disadvantaged places exhibit different reentry outcomes.