Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Terance Miethe

Number of Pages



Recent public policy has been implemented with the assumption that sex offenders are highly motivated and tend to exhibit specialization and compulsivity in their offending patterns. Past research has not been able to confirm or invalidate this assumption, and has reflected many inconsistencies when drawing conclusions about sex offender profiles and career trajectories; Drawing upon a national sample of offenders, the current study examines the degree of specialization in the criminal careers of sex offenders and other groups of offenders. Results from the adjacent specialization analyses of the general offense categories indicated that sex offenders are among the least specialized group of offenders and tend to become less specialized as their criminal careers progress. The crime specific analyses revealed that child molesters exhibit higher levels of specialization than rapists and that these two groups of sex offenders exhibit relatively low levels of specialization when compared to other specific groups of non-sexual offenders. A discussion of implications for future research and public policy follows the data analysis.


Careers; Criminal; Offender; Sex; Specialization

Controlled Subject

Criminology; Sociology

File Format


File Size

1740.8 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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