In the PoCaD lab, we have conducted a number of studies to examine the developmental precursors of various offender groups, including: 1) (a) adolescent violent sex offenders, (b) violent non-sex offenders, and (c) “versatile” violent offenders (who have committed both violent sex offences and violent non-sex offences); 2) (a) adult sex offenders, (b) violent non-sex offenders, and (c) versatile violent offenders; and 3) (a) adult drug offenders, (b) weapons offenders, and (c) versatile drug+wepaons offenders. Developmental precursors include sets of risk factors in childhood and adoelscence.
In several studies we have also examined the developmental risk factors for membership in specific criminal trajectory groups with an aim to identify the factors most closely associated with the high rate-persistent trajectory group. We have found that one of the best childhood predictors of high rate, pervasive offending is contact with the child welfare system. This finding adds to the growing literature on “crossover kids” who show a high rate of continuity from the child welfare system to the juvenile justice system. Issues pertaining to a lack of attachment, stability, and and predictability in childhood, and too many transitions and disruptions in their educational experiences may contribute to the effect.