The first presentation analyzes the relationship between low self-control as a child and criminal behavior as an adult, suggesting that the formation of social bonds may mediate this relationship. While many criminologists debate whether self control or social control is more influential in restraining people from committing crimes, this presentation is among the first to stress the importance of examining the relationship between self control and the formation of social bonds that later affect criminal behavior. The presenters suggest practical implications for preventing criminal involvement particularly relevant to school social workers.
The second presentation, which is a systematic review of studies incorporating meta-analytic techniques, addresses both risk factors for criminal behavior and best correctional-based practices implemented to reduce offenders' chances of recidivism. The presenter compares effect sizes for various risk factors for adult criminality, as well as interventions that aim to reduce recidivism. This is a timely presentation, considering the current economic recession, because Departments of Corrections throughout the country are forced to cut costs for corrections, and many are subsequently focusing on reducing recidivism rates.
The third presentation addresses prisoner reentry by assessing whether employment upon release from prison reduces recidivism. The researchers consider desistance from criminal activity as a behavioral change process rather than a dichotomous outcome. Subsequently, along with assessing whether employment decreases the chances of recidivism, the researchers also assess the influence of employment on time-to-reincarceration. Results will be presented under the framework that delaying re-incarceration indicates initial behavioral change – the second step in the behavioral change process. Suggestions for facilitating this change process through re-entry programs focused on enhancing motivation are presented.
Finally, the fourth presentation assesses longitudinal data that covers the life-course from childhood through later adulthood. The researchers describe primary differences between persistent offenders and non-persistent offenders in childhood, adolescence, and at seven-year intervals throughout adulthood in order to advocate for preventive interventions in childhood and evidence-based prisoner reentry services.
The presentations use evidence to guide practice recommendations for their respective populations in the criminal justice system. The symposium will conclude by discussing the importance of developmentally appropriate practices based on the clients' stage of their life-course while considering earlier moments that may have engendered a trajectory towards crime.