Jan 1, 1977
Analysis of interviews with 49 prison inmates — armed robbers serving at least their second prison term. The interviews probed patterns of criminality; criminal sophistication; treatment by criminal justice agencies; and drug and alcohol involvement. On the average, these offenders committed 20 felonies per year of street time and were arrested for only about 9 percent of them. The seriousness and frequency of their crimes declined during their careers. Surprisingly, the sample did not develop much criminal sophistication over time. Two types of habitual offenders emerged. The "intensives," about one-third of the sample, were more criminally active and more skillful at avoiding arrest than the "intermittents": intensives committed 10 times as many crimes as intermittents but were 5 times less likely to be arrested for any single crime. Though the sample is too small to permit generalizations, results suggest the importance of identifying intensives among habitual offenders and identifying them early in their careers.