RAND Research on Criminal Careers
An Update on Progress to Date
Summarizes completed and ongoing RAND research concerning criminal careers. A survey of California prison inmates provides data for estimating the distribution of criminal activity among active offenders and the characteristics associated with high rates of criminality. Official records are used to estimate the disposition pattern for felony arrests and to estimate the amount of crime that could be prevented by various mandatory sentencing policies. Offender surveys and official records are used to examine the match between treatment needs and treatment received for prison inmates. Comparisons are made across sites concerning sentencing policy toward young offenders as they move from the juvenile to adult court. Current research is based on an expanded survey of prison and jail inmates in California, Texas, and Michigan. Principal issues concern the reliability and validity of offender survey data, estimating parameters which define criminal careers, identifying correlates of serious criminal behavior, and estimating the incapacitation effects of alternative sentencing policies.