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Self-Control and Crime

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Sarah Avery reports for McClatchy Newspapers, "A toddler's inability to exert self-control appears to predict trouble later in life with substance abuse, crime and money mismanagement, reports a team of researchers that include Duke University psychologists."

The psychologists recommend early intervention to improve a child's self-control.

In a simpler age, that was called disciplining your kids.

BTW, the lead researcher is Terrie Moffitt, whose work is cited extensively in CJLF's brief in Graham v. Florida.  Moffitt's work shows that juvenile offenders should not be lumped together in one mass.  Some offend briefly in adolescence and then desist.  Others are life-course offenders.  The Court majority chose to ignore this work, although it is mentioned in Justice Thomas's dissent.

The full article is here.

3 Comments

Kent, and others, what do you think of the A & E show, "Beyond Scared Straight"?


We have known for years that poor self control and an inability to delay gratification are highly correlated with a life of crime. In turn, these characteristics are highly correlated with non-marital births and the absence of a stable, gainfully employed, male figure in the home.

To use these studies as ballast for more government programs rather than attacking the seminal reason for the problem is foolhardy and irresponsible.

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