Saving Children from a Life of Crime : Early Risk Factors and Effective Interventions: Early Risk Factors and Effective Interventions

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After decades of rigorous study in the United States and across the Western world, a great deal is known about the early risk factors for offending. High impulsiveness, low attainment, criminal parents, parental conflict, and growing up in a deprived, high-crime neighborhood are among the most important factors. There is also a growing body of high quality scientific evidence on the effectiveness of early prevention programs designed to prevent children from embarking on a life of crime. Drawing on the latest evidence, Saving Children from a Life of Crime is the first book to assess the early causes of offending and what works best to prevent it. Preschool intellectual enrichment, child skills training, parent management training, and home visiting programs are among the most effective early prevention programs. Criminologists David Farrington and Brandon Welsh also outline a policy strategy--early prevention--that uses this current research knowledge and brings into sharper focus what America's national crime fighting priority ought to be. At a time when unacceptable crime levels in America, rising criminal justice costs, and a punitive crime policy have spurred a growing interest in the early prevention of delinquency, Farrington and Welsh here lay the groundwork for change with a comprehensive national prevention strategy to save children from a life of crime.

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Introduction The Need for Early Prevention
Early Risk and Protective Factors
Understanding Risk and Protective Factors
Individual Factors
Family Factors
Socioeconomic Peer School and Community Factors
Prevention in the Early Years
Understanding RiskFocused Prevention
Family Prevention
Peer School and Community Prevention
Toward a National Strategy
Never Too Early A Comprehensive National Prevention Strategy

Individual Prevention

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Page 114 - Coaching, peer modelling, role playing and reinforcement contingencies were used in small group sessions on such topics as 'how to help', 'what to do when you are angry' and 'how to react to teasing'. Also, their parents were trained using the parent management training techniques developed by Patterson (1982). This...
Page 111 - Berrueta-Clement et al. (1984) showed that, at age 19, the experimental group was more likely to be employed, more likely to have graduated from high school, more likely to have received college or vocational training, and less likely to have been arrested. By age 27, the experimental group had accumulated only half as many arrests on average as the controls (Schweinhart et al., 1993).
Page 80 - The major problem of interpretation is whether young people are more likely to commit offenses while they are in groups than while they are alone, or whether the high prevalence of co-offending merely reflects the fact that, whenever young people go out, they tend to go out in groups. Do peers tend to encourage and facilitate offending, or is it just that most kinds of activities out of the home (both delinquent and nondelinquent) tend to be committed in groups? Another possibility is that the commission...
Page 83 - It was, however, very noticeable that the most troublesome boys tended to go to the high delinquency-rate schools, while the least troublesome boys tended to go to the low delinquency-rate schools. Furthermore, it was clear that most of the variation between schools in their delinquency rates could be explained by differences in their intakes of troublesome boys. The secondary schools themselves had only a very small effect on the boys
Page 149 - Their teachers were trained in classroom management, for example to provide clear instructions and expectations to children, to reward children for participation in desired behaviour, and to teach children prosocial (socially desirable) methods of solving problems.
Page 111 - Head Start' programme targeted on disadvantaged black children, who were allocated (approximately at random) to experimental and control groups. The experimental children attended a daily pre-school programme, backed up by weekly home visits, usually lasting two years (covering ages 3-4).
Page 67 - Most studies of broken homes have focused on the loss of the father rather than the mother, because the loss of a father is much more common. In general, it is found that children who are separated from a biological parent are more likely to offend than children from intact families. For example, in...
Page 41 - Matrices and in school attainment, and they also tend to commit offences, mainly because of their poor ability to foresee the consequences of their offending and to appreciate the feelings of victims (ie their low empathy). Certain family backgrounds are less conducive than others to the development of abstract reasoning. For example...
Page 67 - The prevalence of offending was low for those reared in united homes without conflict (26%) and - importandy - equally low for boys from broken homes with affectionate mothers (22%). These results suggest that it is not so much the broken home that is criminogenic as the parental conflict that often causes it. They also suggest that a loving mother might in some sense be able to compensate for the loss of a father. The importance of the cause of the broken home...

About the author (2006)

David P. Farrington is Professor of Psychological Criminology in the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University.
Brandon C. Welsh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of Massachusetts Lowell.

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