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

Life Course of Young Male and Female Offenders: Stability or Change Between Different Birth Cohorts?

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 54 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2014 Pages: 393-410
Olof Bäckman; Felipe Estrada; Anders Nilsson; David Shannon
Date Published
May 2014
18 pages
A new longitudinal data set of three complete Swedish birth cohorts born in 1965, 1975, and 1985 is used to inform a discussion of the significance of societal changes for the criminality and life chances of male and female offenders.
The study found clear shifts in criminal activity across the three cohorts, both in terms of the types of crimes for which they were convicted and the level of registered criminal activity. There were a declining proportion of offenders convicted of theft and road-traffic offenses, and an increasing proportion being convicted of violent and drug offenses. In terms of registered convictions, there was a considerable reduction in the size of the gender gap. This decline in the gender gap was primarily driven by a decline in the number of males convicted of theft and road-traffic offenses, while females were being convicted of petty theft offenses. The increase in registered crime among females was mostly due to a larger number being convicted on only one minor offense during their teenage years. Among the females convicted more than once as teens, a declining proportion have been reconvicted at ages 20-25. Among the corresponding group of males, however, the level of recidivism in early adulthood has increased slightly. Regarding risk factors for crime, the main finding is the stability of these factors over time. For both males and females, background factors related to criminal behavior were immigrant background, raised by a single parent, low family income, long-term dependency on welfare, and having a parent who served a prison term. Of all the risk factors examined, school grades correlated strongly with registered crime. Implications of these findings are drawn for modern-day Europe, whose populations are facing increasing competition for socioeconomic resources. 7 tables and 42 references