Sociology Index


Career refers to the sequence of stages through which people in a particular occupational sector move through out the course of their employment . Career criminal has been applied to analyzing the various stages of an individual's involvement with criminal activity. Career criminal is one whose criminality is just like a career. Career criminals have gone through the minor leagues to the majors and devote many aspects of their life to criminality. Career criminals tend to commit a large portion of the total amount of crime in a community. Career criminality is associated with an individual's exposure to deviant sub-cultures especially those that exist in weakly controlled areas of society.

Prison Experience of Career Criminals 
J Petersilia ; P Honig ; C Hubay - Corporate Author: Rand Corporation, United States 
The treatment needs and custodial problems associated with career criminals are explored, along with the question of whether these inmates are treated selectively.

Abstract: Data were obtained from samples of about 1,300 inmates from 11 prisons in California, Michigan, and Texas. Inmate information was derived from official corrections records and the inmate survey--a detailed questionnaire completed by the inmate. Education and vocational training programs appeared to be vigorous, while alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, as well as counseling, seemed minimal. Analysis of all program types shows that nearly half of the inmates who had participated felt the program would reduce their future criminality.

The effectiveness of the programs was not assessed. There was little evidence that career criminal inmates have greater treatment needs than the general prison population or that they participate less in relevant prison rehabilitation programs. Neither do prison staffs identify and selectively deal with career criminals. Career criminals were not found to be the primary source of prison violence. Younger inmates committed more serious and frequent infractions of every type. Further, it is suggested that no special rehabilitation programs for career criminals be established at this time. In particular, it is inappropriate that programs be tailored to those inmates prosecuted by special career criminal units. It is advised, however, that although this study suggests that career criminals are not more likely to exhibit negative prison behavior or attempt escape, the situation may change in the next few years as career criminal prosecution units focus on younger criminals with serious criminal histories.

In a recent paper published in this journal, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1986)1 argue that the concepts of criminal careers, career criminals, selective incapacitation, prevalence, and incidence, and longitudinal studies all have little value for criminology. In our view their paper misrepresents these concepts and our research on these topics.

Protecting America: The Effectiveness of the Federal Armed Career Criminal Statute
Corporate Author: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms National Laboratory Ctr United States
This analysis of the impact of Federal legislation regarding armed career criminals focused on the legislation's effect on crime, criminal behavior and the improvement of investigative techniques.
The Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 gave the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms a major opportunity to remove career criminals from society by requiring mandatory imprisonment of at least 15 years for anyone possessing a firearm who has 3 previous State or Federal convictions for a violent felony or serious drug law offense or both. As of February 1, 1991, a total of 471 offenders were convicted and sentenced as career criminals under this law. The research used data from these offenders, a survey of 258 law enforcement officials in all 50 States, interviews with 100 imprisoned armed career criminals, an analysis of 12 career criminal programs, and a review of recent research. Results revealed that each career criminal committed about 3 crimes per week or 160 crimes per year and, therefore, that incarceration at a cost of $45,000 per year saved $323,000 per year per career criminal inmate.

Survey of Local Career Criminal Programs Report (From Armed Robbery and Burglary Prevention Act, 1983, P 76-159, See-NCJ-92899) J Dimm ; P Pacheco ; C Noe, Corporate Author: INSLAW US
This survey of local career criminal programs focuses on their organization and funding, their selection criteria and target offenses, the extent of their interaction with Federal investigative and prosecutory agencies, and their reaction to the concept of a Federal career criminal program.
Using the Directory of Career Criminal Programs to identify those jurisdictions operating such programs, interviewers contacted about 85 percent of the eligible jurisdictions. Project staff interviewed the district attorney, the career criminal project manager, or a career attorney thoroughly familiar with the development, implementation, and operation of the program. Eighty percent of those jurisdictions that received Federal funds to implement and operate career criminal programs were found to still be operating, although Federal funding expired 2 or 3 years ago for many of these programs; they have been largely successful in obtaining financial support from State and local sources. Another series of questions was designed to elicit information on the types of cases targeted for career criminal prosecution, the processes for case selection, the extent of prosecutory discretion in selecting cases, and the annual caseload. Most career criminal units were found to have adopted selection criteria which, if applied strictly, would yield a larger caseload than is manageable by the unit; however, almost all local programs use prosecutorial discretion to identify cases that do not require special treatment. Findings pertaining to interagency coordination, particularly the degree of coordination between Federal agents or U.S. attorneys and the State attorneys or local career criminal unit staff, indicate that small jurisdictions have an overall low level of cooperation and information sharing as well as a general lack of followup with local police. A final series of questions was intended to assess prosecutors' attitudes toward and evaluation of their own programs, to examine whether they emphasized the program's purpose, and to identify perceived problems. Benefits and liabilities of a Federal career criminal program are listed.

Criminal Careers of Female Offenders - MARGUERITE Q. WARREN, Monroe Institute
JILL LESLIE ROSENBAUM, California State University, Fullerton
Abstract: This article examines the subsequent lives of a sample of females who were committed to the California Youth Authority during the 1960s. The criminal careers of these women were analyzed in terms of the persistence and duration of offense behavior, crime specialization, and escalation of seriousness over sequential career periods (prior to youth authority commitment, the commitment period including time on parole, and post-release).

Abstract: On March 24, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in United States v. Sneed, held that courts may not use police reports to determine if prior offenses occurred on different occasions for the purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act. In so doing, the court narrowed the class of offenders that qualify as career offenders and created a loophole that allows some offenders to avoid the ACCA’s mandatory minimum sentence if their previous offenses were not well documented in judicially approved sources. This Comment argues that in order to correct the problem of the Sneed loophole, Congress should amend the ACCA by defining different “occasions” so that the statute can be consistently applied in all jurisdictions and will not force juries to examine the facts underlying a defendant’s previous convictions.

Criminal Careers and "Career Criminals," Volume I (1986) - Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education - The National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.