Age Graded Informal Social Controls Essay

1284 words - 5 pages

Laub and Sampson (2003) believe that age-graded informal social controls are crucial in understanding persistence and desistance in offending, although more research is necessary. Laub and Sampson (2003) argue that certain turning points in life influence persistence and desistance in offending through informal social controls highly associated with the age of the individual via intervening mechanisms. The age-graded informal social control theory aims to explain persistence and desistance, thus explaining important aspects of crime over the life course. Persistence and desistance are explained through age-graded informal social controls such as marriage, employment, and military service and their accompanying intervening mechanisms making the relationship between informal social controls and persistence and desistance somewhat more complex.
Laub and Sampson (2003) discuss the prominent theories of crime over the life course with an emphasis on the work of Terrie Moffitt. Moffitt (1993) attempted to explain life course persistence and some discontinuity. According to Moffitt (1993), there are two distinct categories of offenders concealed by early offending: adolescent-limited offenders and life-course persistent offenders. In this taxonomy, adolescent-limited offenders are those who offend temporarily and discontinue use while life-course persistent offenders are those who offend continuously, with an earlier beginning in delinquency (Moffitt 1993). Adolescent limited offenders only participate in antisocial behavior during adolescence while life-course persistent offenders participate in anti-social behavior throughout the life course beginning in early childhood and into adulthood (Moffitt 1993). Moffitt’s theory (1993) allows for changes in antisocial behavior and environment, but also incorporates to an extent the ideas about stable traits previous theorists contributed to sociology (Gottfredson and Hirschi 1983). Moffitt’s theory (1993) focuses on explaining life course persistence through early childhood experiences. Her theory is considered developmental in that it incorporates social, biological, and psychological factors consequently making Moffitt’s taxonomy dynamic and able to explain persistence well. Moffitt’s theory (1993) allows for changes in many aspects of life including time; what once was an important factor for crime, may not be important at a different time and what was once insignificant for crime could be significant at a different time as well. In her theory, it is of importance to note that different life trajectories are influenced by the differing social, psychological, and biological factors throughout life. In all, Moffitt’s theory (1993) explains persistence well, allows for changes in the life-course, includes only two types of offenders, incorporates young childhood experiences and antisocial behavior, and includes social, psychological, and biological factors. In stark contrast is Laub and Sampson’s...

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