Laub's Age-Graded Development Theory

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The two theories I have chosen are Terrie Moffitt’s dual pathway developmental theory and Sampson and Laub’s age-graded developmental theory. Moffitt’s dual pathway theory really focuses on the relationship between age and crime. Moffitt looks at the life-course of offenders to see where the criminal habit developed. She categorizes offenders into two categories: life-course persistent offenders and adolescent-limited offenders. Life-course offenders make up the smallest percentage of criminals but also make up the highest percentage of crime. Adolescent-limited offenders make up the majority of criminals but commit less crime and usually quit criminal behavior as they mature into adulthood. Sampson and Laub’s age-graded theory is more …show more content…

Both theories also have a few things in common and some key differences as well. I will start with the commonalities first. Both Sampson and Laub’s age-graded theory and Moffitt’s dual pathway theory are developmental theories. According to the textbook, developmental theories “are dynamic in that they emphasize that individuals develop along different pathways, and as they develop, factors that were meaningful to them no longer are, and the factors that previously meant little to them become meaningful” (Hemmens and Walsh 336). Developmental theories look at how offenders start and end their criminal behaviors. All developmental theories, including the two focused on in this paper, pull from social, psychological, and biological factors to find answers. Both of these theories follow along a trajectory or pathway for offenders. Sampson and Laub’s age-graded theory has offenders following along two possible trajectories. They can either follow along the high risk trajectory or the low risk trajectory. Both trajectories start from childhood and end in late adulthood. Whether an offender is placed in the high risk or low risk trajectory depends on how they take advantage of the turning points and social capital in their lives. Those with poor bonds early on in their life and who use their turning points as an outlet for antisocial behavior are in the high risk trajectory. Those with strong bonds and use their turning points for good are in the low risk trajectory. Moffitt’s dual pathway theory also has a similar pattern. Moffitt has two different pathways offenders are placed in: the life course persistent pathway and the adolescent-limited pathway. The adolescent-limited pathway is for those who are for the most part ‘normal.’ They associate with bad peers and get involved in delinquent situations. By the time they reach adulthood, though, they have

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