The study of criminal careers generally, and patterns of continuity and change in criminal offending in particular, has been a long-standing interest to social scientists across many disciplines. This article provides readers with an overview of this line of research. After an introduction to the criminal career perspective, the article presents several 'facts' that have emerged from criminal career studies. This material segues into a discussion of theories based on criminal careers research as well as a related discussion of the emerging methods and trends in the area. The article closes with some observations about public policy with respect to criminal careers knowledge and identifies some neglected research needs. A key summary conclusion is that the processes associated with continuity and change are not mutually exclusive, but instead are important and complimentary aspects of criminal careers research.
- Criminal careers