Official bias in intergenerational transmission

S. Besemer, D.P. Farrington, C.C.J.H. Bijleveld

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We investigated to what extent children of convicted parents might have a higher risk of a conviction themselves because criminal justice systems, such as the police and courts, focus more attention towards certain criminal families - a concept called official bias. Bias was measured using several variables: a convicted parent, low family income, low family socio-economic status, poor housing and a father's poor job record. A convicted parent as well as poorer social circumstances such as a father's poor job record, low family income and poor housing predicted an increased conviction risk while controlling for self-reported offending. The results support the official bias mechanism, but also suggest that other mechanisms are needed to explain intergenerational transmission of criminal convictions. © The Author 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-455
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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