Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 3, Page 6 Spring 1994 On Research Linking past and future criminal behavior Finding links between past and future violent criminal behavior is the work of Ramiro Martinez Jr., assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice. FBI statistics gathered between 1973 and 1990 in Columbus, Ohio, provided him with an unusual wealth of background information on 400 subjects arrested for murder, rape, aggravated assault and armed robbery. Almost equally divided between blacks and whites, the subjects tended to be from poor socio-economic backgrounds and were overwhelmingly from urban backgrounds. But, most (80 percent) had not had a prior violent arrest. Martinez found, however, that early contact with the police was a major factor in predicting violent behavior. Access to juvenile court records provided important information that allowed him to establish linkages between the early onset of delinquency problems and the probability of adult violent crime. In contrast to studies from the 1940s and 1950s that showed violent offenders were not repeat offenders, Martinez found that almost half those in his study had at least one major subsequent arrest (after 1973) for violent crime. He says he believes the many societal changes during this period could account for some of the behavioral changes. In addition to the increase in violent crime arrests, many had arrests during this time for other crimes, including domestic violence, resisting arrest or menacing threats. Martinez theorizes that this recurring violent behavior is not incidental and many of these subjects were violence "specialists," engaged in exclusively violent behavior. Martinez says he plans to update the study by looking at the current status of these subjects, focusing on employment, substance abuse and overall maturity. "Surprisingly," he notes, "only a small number are still in prison." -Michael W. Hail, Delaware '95 Ph.D.