This chapter intrudes the key elements of this volume. This volume focuses on the age period between mid adolescence and early adulthood (roughly ages 15-29) and it addresses what we know about offending careers from the juvenile to the adult years. The volume draws on studies in North America and Europe and focuses on four key groups of young people: Juveniles whose offending persists from adolescence into early adulthood (and perhaps later); juvenile offenders who desisted during adolescence and do not continue to offend in early adulthood; adult-onset offenders who did not offend during adolescence but who became offenders during early adulthood; and, lastly, non-offenders who do not offend either in adolescence or early adulthood. Many juvenile delinquents tend to stop offending in late adolescence and early adulthood and this decrease is accompanied by a decrease in their impulsive behavior and an increase in their self-control. In most states in the U.S. the legal transition between adolescence and adulthood takes place at age 18. However, this age demarcation maps poorly onto maturational processes; research shows that many young people by age 18 do not yet have full control over their behavior and that brain maturation is not yet complete at that age. The implications of these findings for juvenile and adult justice are profound. Preventive and remedial interventions in and outside the justice system often shorten delinquency careers and reduce recidivism in adulthood.
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