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Crime Specialization, Seriousness Progression, and Markov Chains

NCJ Number
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Volume: 52 Issue: 5 Dated: (1984) Pages: 837-840
T R Holland; B McGarvey
Date Published
4 pages
Sequences of violent and nonviolent offenses were subjected to log-linear analyses of the stabilities and magnitudes of their transition probabilities.
In all instances, the patterns resembled a simple Markov process wherein the transition probabilities were exceedingly stable. Furthermore, the relative magnitudes of these probabilities indicated that there was considerable specialization in nonviolent offenses but little tendency toward consistently violent behavior. Seriousness progress from nonviolent to violent misconduct was infrequent, although there was substantial retrogression from violent to nonviolent offenses. The results were seen to support previous research in which nonviolent criminality emerged as more fundamental than violence in potential for pattern development. Also evident was the value of analyzing sequences of antisocial behavior rather than indexes in which this sequential information is lost. (Publisher abstract)


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