U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

It Was My Idea: Considering the Instigation of Co-Offending

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 50 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2012 Pages: 463-494
Jean Marie McGloin; Holly Nguyen
Date Published
May 2012
32 pages
Using data from inmates in the Colorado Department of Corrections this study tested hypotheses regarding the characteristics of offenders who instigate co-offending.
More than 20 years ago, Albert Reiss (1988) recognized that some individuals are responsible for instigating group offending, whereas others follow accomplices into crime (or offend alone). Since this initial discussion by Reiss, however, little clarity has emerged regarding the factors that predict or explain the instigation of co-offending. Specifically, some literature has suggested that the tendency to instigate varies systematically across individuals, such that chronic or serious offenders are more likely to instigate group crime. Instigation also may vary across crime types (i.e., within-individuals), according to whether individuals have crime-specific skill or experience. Using data from inmates in the Colorado Department of Corrections to investigate these hypotheses, the results reveal that individuals with earlier ages of criminal onset are more likely to report they instigate group crime, net of controls. At the same time, indicators of crime-specific expertise predict the tendency to instigate group crime. The Discussion section considers the implications of these results and offers directions for future research. (Published Abstract)


No download available