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Fatherhood and Crime

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Propensity for crime changes with age, in part because of physical changes and in part because of experiences we have along the way.  One major attitude-changing life event is having children.  Is parenthood a factor in the decline of criminality with age?  So find Kerr, Capaldi, Owen, Wiesner, and Pears in Changes in At-Risk American Men's Crime and Substance Use Trajectories Following Fatherhood, Journal of Marriage and Family, v.73, pp. 1101-1116 (Oct. 2011).  Here is the abstract:
Fatherhood can be a turning point in development and in men's crime and substance use trajectories. At-risk boys (N = 206) were assessed annually from ages 12 to 31 years. Crime, arrest, and tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use trajectories were examined. Marriage was associated with lower levels of crime and less frequent substance use. Following the birth of a first biological child, men's crime trajectories showed slope decreases, and tobacco and alcohol use trajectories showed level decreases. The older men were when they became fathers, the greater the level decreases were in crime and alcohol use and the less the slope decreases were in tobacco and marijuana use. Patterns are consistent with theories of social control and social timetables.

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Many years ago, I worked with an old, hard-line, jurist who would often order a special condition of probation which prohibited fathering a child out of wedlock. Of course he was later reversed by the Third Circuit.

Need we look for innovative, alternative sentence- minded jurists to craft a sentence that provides for an early terminaton of probation when/if the defendant fathers a child? All in the interest of specific rehabilitation you know.

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