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Future of Criminal Attitudes Research and Practice

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 427-446
David J. Simourd; Mark E. Olver
Date Published
August 2002
20 pages
This study's purpose was to expand knowledge of the criminal attitude construct through an examination of the underlying factor structure of the Criminal Sentiments Scale-Modified (CSS-M) among a sample of high-risk (violent) offenders.
Participants were 381 male inmates of a medium-security Canadian Federal institution in Ontario, Canada. They ranged in age from 19 to 60 years. The CSS-M (Shields & Simourd, 1991) is a self-report instrument that measures antisocial attitudes, values, and beliefs directly related to criminal activity. As part of the assessment, participants completed a battery of self-report psychometric tests, including the CSS-M, either alone or in small groups. Additional demographic and offense/incarceration history was collected from available case file information. Recidivism information was collected through the Offender Management System, a computerized database operated by the Correctional Service of Canada. The study yielded four factors that reflected generic criminal attitudes, specific attitudes about the law, generic rationalizations consistent with criminal subcultures, and criminally oriented self-views (i.e., a criminal self-concept). Confirmatory factor analysis, using structural equation modeling, found these factors to be relatively robust. Supplemental analyses showed that the factors were linked to criminal conduct outcome criteria. These results are discussed in terms of potential future theory, research, and practice of the criminal attitude construct. 4 tables and 45 references