The transition from adolescence to adulthood also has been described as a window of opportunity or vulnerability when developmental and contextual changes converge to support positive turnarounds and redirections (Masten, Long, Kuo, McCormick, & Desjardins, 2009; Masten, Obradović, & Burt, 2006). The transition years also are a criminological crossroads, as major changes in criminal careers often occur at these ages as well. For some who began their criminal careers during adolescence, offending continues and escalates; for others involvement in crime wanes; and yet others only begin serious involvement in crime at these ages.
There are distinctive patterns of offending that emerge during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. One shows a rise of offending in adolescence and the persistence of high crime rates into adulthood; a second reflects the overall age-crime curve pattern of increasing offending in adolescence followed by decreases during the transition years; and the third group shows a late onset of offending relative to the age-crime curve. Developmental theories of offending ought to be able to explain these markedly different trajectories