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Crime and Desistance: Probing How Probationers' Thoughts on Crime May Inform Their Conduct

NCJ Number
301176
Journal
NIJ Journal
Date Published
July 2021
Length
4 pages
Annotation

This article explains how a National Institute of Justice-funded research team conducted a two-phase study of desistance cognitions.

Abstract

The ways that people on probation tend to think about crime can offer important clues about whether they will resume or reject a criminal life. A number of past studies have examined how probationers’ cognitions relate to recidivism, that is, a return to criminal activity. Less of the research has looked at links between cognition and desistance, that is, refraining from crime going forward. This article explains how a National Institute of Justice-funded research team conducted a two-phase study of desistance cognitions. This study did find support for helping probationers use their strengths to desist, but cautioned that this would be challenging for community supervision officers to do. More research would be needed before developing and employing strategies for community corrections agencies to manage and reduce risk through a desistance cognition framework, the team reported.