Can we predict escalation in offending seriousness?

AQMeN research briefing 10 - Brian Francis and Jiayi Liu 

Key Points

There is perhaps an assumption among the general public that offenders tend to escalate in seriousness as they develop in their criminal career. Few criminologists, however, have attempted to understand how seriousness of offending  increases,  remains stable or decreases over the criminal life-course . 

Using the Offenders Index data for England and Wales, we compare different methods to examine whether there are specific sub-groups of offenders with distinct seriousness trajectories. We find one large and two small groups of offenders with distinctive patterns of crime seriousness that vary by age and according to their criminal justice histories. 

Growth mixture models provide the best approach for studying escalation in offending seriousness rather than the more usual group-based trajectory models.

This work has important policy considerations in terms of how to identify and selectively target a small group of potentially dangerous offenders who exhibit high escalation in crime seriousness.

Read the briefing in full. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Brian Francis
Jiayi Liu
Publication Type: 
Research Briefing

Research Strand: