Theorizing the Role of Health and Health Disparities in the Life-Course Criminological Paradigm

Authored by: Dylan B. Jackson , Michael G. Vaughn

Routledge International Handbook of Delinquency and Health

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367256920
eBook ISBN: 9780429289194
Adobe ISBN:


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Criminology as a discipline has a rich theoretical history. The causes of crime and criminal justice system involvement, as well as the theoretical underpinnings of developing and enforcing the law, have been topics of debate in the field for centuries, and in many ways, the debate rages on. A potentially useful strategy to enhance our understanding of the causes of crime lies in cross-disciplinary theorizing that makes use of the wealth of knowledge that has emerged from the public health and health disparities literatures. We propose that advancements in this area are best accomplished within a life-course criminological framework, as doing so enables a health-informed approach to both developmental crime prevention strategies as well as the care and treatment of currently and formerly justice-involved populations. In the present chapter, we review the origins and findings of the life-course criminological paradigm as well as relevant literature linking crime and criminal justice involvement to health and health disparities, and discuss a novel conceptual framework that can galvanize future research and theorizing concerning the links between health and crime across the life course.

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