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Recipient of Choice Magazine's 1991 Outstanding Academic Book Award Why do some individuals pursue crime as a lifestyle? After years of incarceration, why do these offenders habitually repeat criminal behavior? In The Criminal Lifestyle, Walters approaches the question of crime by examining how various biologic, sociologic, and psychologic factors interact to bring about criminal behavior. He extends the criminal career concept to include those persons who approach crime–not as an isolated incident–but as a lifelong commitment. Organized in the same manner as the study was conducted, this riveting book reviews and evaluates research, theoretical issues and practical considerations concerning crime, and develops a model of lifestyle criminality. In The Criminal Lifestyle Walters examines a variety of different perspectives, and organizes them into a framework which furthers our understanding of persons who approach crime as a lifestyle. As such, this contemporary study should be required reading in courses on psychology, criminology, and criminal justice. In addition, practitioners and policymakers who must make decisions about individual offenders will not want to pass up this distinctive resource. “This is an intriguing book that should have a wide audience both in criminology and in other fields. Upper-division undergraduates and above.” – Choice

A Working Hypothesis
A working hypothesis

Shortly after accepting employment as a clinical psychologist with the federal prison system, I was approached by a middle-aged inmate with a question that has served to stimulate my subsequent interest in the criminal lifestyle. In explaining how he had spent much of his adult life incarcerated in one correctional facility or another, this individual asserted that he had grown weary of confinement even before being released “the last time.” He was puzzled because this sentiment did not seem to deter him from violating the law once he returned to the streets. Consequently, he found himself confined after only several months in the community. In my own mind, I had problems reconciling the obvious discrepancy between this individual's stated desires ...

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