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Dynamics of Desistance: Charting Pathways Through Change

NCJ Number
Deirdre Healy
Date Published
238 pages
This book examines the dynamics of desistance among repeat adult offenders.
Chapter 1 examines what existing theoretical perspectives and what empirical findings reveal about desistance. Chapter 2 outlines the most pressing challenges and establishes the extent of existing knowledge about each of them. Chapter 3 describes some of the key features of Irish society that might impact on crime and desistance and provides a socio-demographic profile of the areas that were home to the men who took part in the study. Also it outlines the research design and data sources that were used in the study and explains how the participants were selected and recruited. Chapter 4 presents the results of an investigation of the psychosocial factors involved in desistance and identifies whether the factors that are involved in the early stages of change differ from those involved in the later stages. Chapter 5 draws on participants' reflections on their efforts at reform, and examines the factors and processes involved in the onset and maintenance of change. It focuses on desisters' perceived reasons for giving up crime, the strategies they used to implement change, and the social and psychological effects of desistance. Chapter 6 delves more deeply into participants' narratives to explore how they integrate their past, present, and future selves into a coherent account. Chapter 7 provides a glimpse into the impact of probation as seen through the eyes of probationers themselves. An overview of the development of the Probation Service, and its functions, aims, and ethos is provided. Chapter 8 extends that analysis by examining whether the same factors predict long-term outcomes. Chapter 9 synthesizes and interprets the findings and assesses them against the backdrop of existing research and theory on desistance. Tables, figures, appendix, references, and index