Murderers who killed during robberies more likely to return to crime when paroled

February 3, 2014 by Matt Shipman

Murderers who committed homicide during robberies are more likely to commit crimes again when they are paroled, compared to murderers who committed homicide under other circumstances, according to research from North Carolina State University and Harvard University.

"We wanted to know what determines whether former commit when released from prison," says Dr. Margaret Zahn, a professor of sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. "We found that the motivation for was a significant predictor."

The researchers evaluated the records of 92 paroled homicide offenders who were convicted of murder in Philadelphia, Penn., between 1977 and 1983. They found that 66 percent of parolees who committed murder during a robbery committed a crime after being released from prison, compared with 55 percent of parolees who had committed murder under other .

"One reason for this is that in-prison interventions, if any, tend to focus on anger-management issues, and that does not address financial motivations for committing murder," Zahn says.

"This research is significant because, if you're going to release people on parole, it is important to look at the motivations for their previous crime; those motivations can offer insights into future behavior," Zahn adds. "It is information that parole officers can use to better monitor their cases."

Future research should explore whether these trends are consistent across jurisdictions and whether influence recidivism rates, as well as strategies used by parolees who don't commit crimes upon release.

Explore further: Parolee releases spike violent crime, study suggests

More information: The paper, "Criminal Recidivism among Homicide Offenders," is published online in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. DOI: 10.1177/0886260513517302

Related Stories

Parolee releases spike violent crime, study suggests

September 1, 2009

( -- California lawmakers may want to rethink a cost-cutting proposal to release at least 27,000 inmates from state prison in light of a new study linking parolees to increases in violent crime.

Recommended for you

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Feb 03, 2014
So we know that some of them will kill again when they get out yet we let them out anyway and we are supposed to have respect for the legal system? Explain it to their future victims and their families.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.