Sociology, Department of


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Published in Deviant Behavior, 25:5 (2004), pages 427–449; doi 10.1080/01639620490468561 Copyright © 2004 Taylor & Francis Inc. Used by permission.


Previous research has suggested that “victim” and “offender” are not mutually exclusive categories but rather represent a homogeneous pool in which offenders are victimized and victims also offend. Little is known, however, about the specifics of the victim and offender process. The current study formally addresses the following research questions: why are some individuals at higher risk for victimization compared to others; why do some young people offend while others do not; and finally, why are criminal victims likely to retaliate? Given that homeless young people generally have high rates of offending and are also exceedingly vulnerable to crime, they represent an ideal sample for examining this process. The purpose of this investigation is to examine, in depth, the victimization and offending experiences of 40 homeless males and females in the Midwest and to place such experiences in a larger context by including an examination of both their early life histories and their current street exposure.

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