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The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals [Paperback]

Lonnie H. Athens
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 1992 0252062620 978-0252062629
Lonnie Athens examines a problem that has long baffled experts and lay people alike: How does a person become a dangerous violent criminal? He explains how those who commit brutal crimes begin as relatively benign individuals who undergo lengthy, at times tortuous. development leading them to malevolence. The process that Athens labels "violentization" encompasses four stages: brutalization, belligerency, violent performance, and virulency. Athens uses vivid first-person accounts gleaned from in-depth interviews with nascent and hardened violent criminals to back up his theory, producing a book that will appeal to a wide variety of readers interested in criminal justice, law, and sociology.

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Editorial Reviews


"The most far-reaching, provocative, and profound analysis of violent conduct to be found in the criminological literature." -- Norman K. Denzin, author of The Research Act

Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252062620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252062629
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #609,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pulitzer Price winner Richard Rhodes has written a new book, "Why They Kill," as a biography of Lonnie Athens and an explication of his book and work on the origins of violence in individuals. He clearly wants to lift perceptions of the research value of Athens' work to a level that will give it the credibility it deserves in the face of opposition from vested but less-well-researched interests in the fields of criminology and sociology.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Development of a Criminal March 14, 2013
By Sparky
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Athens formulated a theory about the stages criminals go through in reaching the point where they become violent. He based this partially upon his own personal life experiences. And then he tested his theory relentlessly against reality, by personally visiting and interviewing scores of inmates. His theory that violent criminals develop in stages, and that if that series of stages is complete, the person will in fact be a violent criminal. But he also says that if we understand this progression and find a way to stop the progression before the person reaches virulency, redemption is possible.

As the civilized nation with the highest percentage per capita of incarceration, we not only pay an enormous economic cost, but also a social one. If we reviewed our justice system through the eyes of Athens' stages, perhaps we could prevent some criminals from becoming violent criminals. We should also bear in mind, that once a criminal has reached the final stage, the only way for society to be safe from repeated victimization by that person, is to keep them locked up. This book does not mindlessly beg for rehabilitation of offenders. It insists that we look more closely in how we classify offenders, and the risk they present to society. In truth, even most inmates convicted of murder in this country, will someday walk free again. We had better devise a system of analyzing what their future threat is, before we unlock those doors.
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