Mortality rates and causes of death of convicted Dutch criminals 25 years later

Paul Nieuwbeerta, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Extant theory hypothesizes that offenders have greater risk of premature and unnatural death than nonoffenders, but few studies have assessed this hypothesis; those doing so have relied on U.S. samples of male offenders typically followed until midlife. This article examines the relation between criminal conduct and mortality rates in the Netherlands using data from the Criminal Careers and Life Course Study, which traces the life course and criminal careers of 4,615 males and females convicted in 1977 up until 2002. The causes of deaths that occurred during this 25-year period are examined using data from the Netherlands Statistics. Results show that criminal conduct increases the chance of premature death due to natural and unnatural causes. Convicted persons run greater risks of dying of unnatural causes such as accidents, homicide, and suicide. Additionally, risk of premature, unnatural death varies, with high-rate, persistent offenders evincing higher risks than other types of offenders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-286
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Criminal careers
  • Mortality
  • Offending trajectories
  • Unnatural death

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