What is a Situational Offender, a Career Criminal and a Mentally Ill Offender?Discuss each offenders charateristics

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Situational Offender - In this case, we have someone who only commits crimes or would consider committing crimes under certain circumstances and conditions.  For example, say a person is violent when they are drunk, or more likely to shoplift, vandalize, etc., while, when they are sober, they are on the legal straight and narrow.  You can also include under this definition people who do not seek criminal opportunities, but take them when they happen.  Say a clerk runs out of a store after a shoplifter, so the person in the store shoplifts while he is out even though they didn't enter the store intending to do so.  Or a person steals from their employer, because they are much less likely to get caught, so only in less risky situations do they commit those crimes.

A Career Criminal - This type of criminal has a lengthy record, started small when they were a juvenile, and has acquired the skills necessary in the criminal trade to try and make a living at it.  Career criminals are already in the system, and the police and courts usually know them on a first name basis.  Many people refer to this type of criminal as poor candidates for rehabilitation or leniency, as they have long since given up their sense of remorse and conscience.

The Mentally Ill Offender - This type of criminal has a different sense of reality than the mainstream population, and may not know right from wrong, good from bad, socially acceptable from taboo.  They may hallucinate, be paranoid, see or hear things that are not there, or suffer from chemical imbalances that prevent them from behaving within the law.  Courts usually treat these people differently since they have a diminished awareness of their actions and impacts on others.