Application:Risk Factors of Special Criminal Populations

Special criminal populations range from serious violent offenders to low-level criminals. The major groups of offenders considered to be a special population are serial killers, batterers (domestic violence), sexual offenders, stalkers, psychopaths, mass murderers, the mentally disordered, and female offenders. In some instances, other types of criminals, such as juveniles tried as adults, also are considered a special population. Like other types of offenders, special criminal populations have risk factors. Risk factors range from poor parental supervision for juvenile offenders, marital distress, depression, and psychoses. These risk factors can be a combination of both biological and/or environmental factors. For example, serious violent offenders have been shown to have both biological and environmental risk factors, whereas low-level criminals are influenced almost exclusively by environmental factors.

Identifying unique risk factors for special criminal populations is critical to developing rehabilitation strategies for reducing crime. For example, if drinking alcohol in excess causes someone to become violent, then a rehabilitation program for that person might aim at reducing or eliminating use of alcohol. Based on the assumption that use of alcohol for this offender is the precipitating event to committing a crime, then successful rehabilitation would decrease this person's violent acts. As a criminal justice professional, it is critical to recognize the risk factors of special criminal populations so that these criminals can be placed in appropriate rehabilitation programs.

To prepare for this assignment: Review Chapter 14 of the course text, The Psychology of Criminal Conduct.

Review the discussion of criminal subtypes. Pay attention to the unique risk factors and causes of these criminal subtypes.

Review the report, "Developing Gender-Specific Classification Systems for Women Offenders." Consider how the risk factors of the special criminal population of female offenders differ from the risk factors of more common male offenders.

Based on the materials presented this week, select two special criminal populations that are of interest to you. Reflect on the similarities and differences in the causes of these two special criminal populations.

Consider how knowing the specific risk factors for these two special criminal populations would help to guide and inform rehabilitation programs for them.

The assignment (1–2 pages):

Identify and describe risk factors and causes of criminal behavior for each of the two special criminal populations you selected.

Compare and contrast risk factors and causes of criminal behavior for the two populations you chose.

Provide one or two insights for how your analysis would inform the rehabilitation of special criminal populations.