Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article


The journal article presents the authors’ views on juvenile delinquency. It also presents their views on the relationship between offences committed and remorsefulness. The study concentrates on young offenders in Canada. The author argues that chronic and non-chronic offenders do not show significant correlation with regard to the extent of their remorsefulness. They explore early research on the subject of remorse and deterrent to repetitive behavior. According to Ashworth (2005), judges in Canada work on the assumption that young offenders who are remorseful and take responsibility of their actions will most likely avoid repeating future offenses. Judges would give them lighter sentences if they were remorseful. The authors disagree with previous research proving a high correlation between remorse and chronic offenses. Attrition theory explains the reason as to why lack of remorse is the reason behind the rise in the number of young re-offenders. However, the writers come up with contradictory results in the survey they carry out amongst young inmates.

Article Overview

The article clearly brings out the concept of remorse and mitigation in the case of chronic offenses. A literature review is conducted, poking holes in theories linking remorse to offense recurrence. The article explains the need for a detailed exploration of remorse and its benefits in the criminal justice system. A distinctive and measurable approach of prudential and shame is required to draw a clear and concise conclusion on the subject.

Definition of the Research Problem

The research focuses on the use of Schneider-based measurement of remorse and its relation to delinquent chronic offenders. It considers the youthful population of offenders in Canada. The number of young offenders has increased exponentially due to factors like single parenting and peer pressure. Assessment of the young inmates’ feelings about offences committed is determined through Seven-Point Likert-scale questions. Conclusions are then drawn. The authors conclude that there is no evidence to justify the hypothesis that remorsefulness distinguishes chronic offenders from non-chronic offenders. Data analysis supports this conclusion contrary to previous assertions. The study conducted and data analyzed should reinforce the remorse theory. However, this is not the case as the findings of this study end up showing less correlation between remorsefulness and chronic criminal actions.

Research Methodology

The writers did a thorough research within the confines of the limited resources. The research was not extensive. As such, the conclusions can be tested in future research. A self-report delinquency surveys were used. They were administered to imprisoned youth in Burnaby (447) and Victoria (218).The authors also employed a dichotomous measurement to determine variations in chronic offenders among the youth. The methods are correctly used but are not adequate enough to make a credible conclusion (Howell, 2003). One has to adopt a multi-methods approach to thoroughly test the results.

The results of multivariate analysis indicate that chronic offenses have no substantial correlation with remorse when considered alongside other traditional risk factors. The findings support the hypothesis of the study. The study classifies offenders as chronic serious offenders and chronic serious non-offenders. As a result, the conclusion that remorse plays a significant role in predicting future behavior is validated. Statistical data analysis helps to determine the extent to which both independent and dependent variables are related. Authors perform a thorough data analysis as seen from the tabulations presented (Gibbs, 2010). Dichotomous measures used to determine chronic and non-chronic offenders do little to help. The measures restrict the capability to evaluate the considerable inconsistencies that are in-born and affect the concept of remorse as a deterrent to variant behavior.

Article Contributions to Existing Literature

The authors present a scholarly journal article that becomes a valuable reference on the criminal justice system. Substantial research results provide sociological and psychological solutions to the problem of rising numbers of offenders amongst the youth. The authors challenge theories that tie remorsefulness to repeated chronic offenses. They help subject several hypotheses that support remorsefulness as a mitigating factor with regard to chronic serious offenses. The authors argue that researchers should carry out substantial and extensive research on the subject (Fisher & Exline, 2006). Contrary to other similar studies, the scholars they argue that remorse is inseparable from other independent and traditional factors. A separation would lead to serious misrepresentation of the reality about delinquency.

Article’s Results, Findings, and Recommendations

The authors did a thorough analysis and interpretation of the statistical data collected. The authors partly agree with the hypothesis of remorse being a mitigating factor to crime. They distinguish chronic offenders from non-chronic offenders.

The assumption of the study by Schneider (which shows that young imprisoned people benefit from trainings to stimulate remorse) is not applicable to the current study. The reason is due to lack of BC sample of young people. Age, background, and living conditions are some of the factors that are closely related to chronic offenses. The living condition is one of the main factors are associated with chronic serious offenses. Other reasons that tend to encourage youth criminal gangs include cultural attitudes towards violence and education level. The survey’s use of self-report data limits the effectiveness of the research. The surveyors need to carry out a comprehensive and distinctive multi-measure (Day et al., 2008).

Article Critique

The authors present a thoroughly researched study with reliable results. The results of this research are within the acceptable levels of statistical significance. Arguments presented are psychological and sociological in nature. One can approach the issue of remorsefulness and its effects on behavior of a young person either as a sociologist or a psychologist. The writers look at the response of the society to young offenders. Remorsefulness and shame among the youthful offenders usually has a positive effect on crime control. Offenders, who are more repentant are ready to convert, are willing to rehabilitate, and are prepared to integrate back into the community. Remorsefulness inhibits the vice, preventing the recurrence of such behaviors (Calverley et al., 2010). Most countries with developed democracies use the concept of remorse arousal in a bid to curb reoffending. Related traits like sadness and regret help the chronic delinquent offenders keep off crime. It is an effective deterrent.

The facts highlighted in the research are achieved through results obtained from statistical analysis. The author does not use the generalization of ideas, making the research more ‘imperial’ and justified. The writer relates the concept of remorse to offenses committed. The comparison of the chronic young offenders and the non-chronic young offenders helps to explain this concept. Remorse is a type of response by people who have committed grievous acts. One can look at remorse from the perspective of criminal justice. It is defined as when offenders take responsibility for the acts committed in the community. One’s personality traits like temperament and the context within which the heinous acts were committed determine the degree to which an offender is remorseful. It helps one appreciate the field of sociology, especially behavior development through reinforcement (Bala, 2004).


The article brings out the argument of delinquency in relation to remorseful feelings, leaving the audience convinced that one can use remorse as a deterrent to heinous actions. However, remorse has to be considered alongside other traditional factors. Exposure to risk, maltreatment, and family instability increase cases of chronic serious offenders. Methods used to collect data and analyze it include a series of questionnaires and forms.


Ashworth, A. (2005). Sentencing and criminal justice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Bala, N. (2004). The Youth Criminal Justice Act: Context, principles, provisions and implementation in British Columbia. Victoria, BC.: 2004 Keeping the Promise Conference.

Calverley, D., Cotter, A., & Halla, E. (2010). Youth custody and community services in canada, 2008/2009. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

Day, D., Bevc, I., Theodor, F., Rosenthal, J., & Duchesne, T. (2008). Change and continuity in criminal offending: Criminal trajectories of the “Toronto” sample. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Fisher, M., & Exline, J. (2006). Self-forgiveness versus excusing: The roles of remorse, effort, and acceptance of responsibility. Self and Identity, 5(2), 127-46.

Gibbs, J. (2010).Moral development and reality: Beyond the theories of Kohlberg and Hoffman. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Howell, J. (2003). Diffusing research into practice using the comprehensive strategy for serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 1(3), 219-45.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2022, March 25). Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, March 25). Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article.

Work Cited

"Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article." PsychologyWriting, 25 Mar. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article'. 25 March.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article." March 25, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article." March 25, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Remorse and Chronic Offending: A Review of Article." March 25, 2022.