This new theory of crime over the life course provides an important foundation for rethinking criminal justice policy. It is based on the reanalysis of a classic set of data: Sheldon and Eleanor Gluecks' mid-century study of 500 delinquents and 500 nondelinquents from childhood to adulthood. Several years ago, Robert Sampson and John Laub dusted off sixty cartons of the Gleucks' data that had been stored in the basement of the Harvard Law School and undertook a lengthy process of recoding, computerizing, and reanalyzing it. On the basis of their findings, they developed a theory of informal social control that acknowledges the importance of childhood behavior but rejects the implication that adult social factors have little relevance. This theory accounts for both stability and change in crime and deviance throughout the life course.
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Robert J. Sampson is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Harvard University.
John H. Laub is Professor of Criminology, University of Maryland.
Hard-headed quantitative variable-oriented statistics are skillfully blended with qualitative person-oriented studies of individual life histories. A 'must' for anyone interested in either criminology or life-span development, and of great interest to a much wider group of readers. Crime in the Making is destined to become a classic.
--Michael Rutter, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London
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