Theories of sentencing have pointed out the association between the sentence and the courtroom workgroup’s joint assessment of defendants’ risk and culpability. One of the most important indicators of risk and culpability is prior criminal records. Types of crimes and pattern of prior criminal events are an important part of the legal discourse around sentencing. This discussion is conceptually similar to the criminal career concept of criminal specialization. In the present study, latent class analysis (LCA) is used to measure criminal specialization. The cumulative disadvantage perspective is incorporated into the article to model how specialization predicts a series of case processing outcomes—dismissal, charge reduction, incarceration, and length of incarceration. The analysis found specialists of the current crime—robbery defendants who specialized in robbery and larceny defendants who specialized in larceny—generally received less favorable outcomes.
- case processing
- criminal specialization
- latent class analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine