Need, Connections, or Competence? Criminal Achievement among Adolescent Offenders

Holly Nguyen, Martin Bouchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Variations in criminal performance have been much less explored than other parameters of criminal careers. We explore the factors associated with differential criminal achievement in a sample of 154 adolescent offenders involved in cannabis cultivation. Drawing from theories of earnings attainment, we examine the role of drug use, criminal social capital and criminal human capital in providing either (a) monetary, or (b) in kind (cannabis) rewards from crime. Results reveal that criminal social capital and criminal human capital are related to performance while drug use explains little of the variation. Their effects, however, differ between outcomes: young offenders who are mainly connected to adult growers tend to be paid in kind, whereas respondents connected to a majority of other young growers tend to receive money. Criminal human capital is crucial to earning money but insignificant to obtaining larger payments in cannabis. Implications for criminal career and desistance research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-83
Number of pages40
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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