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dc.contributor.authorRocque, M
dc.contributor.authorJennings, WG
dc.contributor.authorOzkan, T
dc.contributor.authorPiquero, AR
dc.description.abstractWith all due apologies to the aggregate age/crime curve, there is little denying that there is great variability between offenders and within offenders over time with respect to offending over the life course. Many persons offend, but only do so once. Others offend two or three times, and then stop. And a much smaller set of persons offend with high frequency and over longer periods of time. But much like a roller-coaster’s initial large incline to the top, participation and frequency of offending also exhibit declines over the life course until some finite (but difficult to identify without fail) endpoint. This decline in offending, is what is commonly referred to (but not always conceptually agreed upon) as desistance from crime. The topic of desistance is not necessarily a new one as it can be traced back to seminal works in the 19th century by both Quetelet (1831/1984) and Beccaria (1764/1992). However, it did not begin to take hold, at least empirically, until the Philadelphia Birth Cohort Study by Wolfgang et al. (1972/1987), who were the first to study transition probabilities and recidivism in a large sample of boys followed to late adolescence. Research on desistance, however, began to flourish after the U.S. National Research Council’s report on criminal careers (Blumstein et al., 1986), in which the Panel outlined a new paradigm that parceled out an individual’s offending career into distinct dimensions, with desistance emerging as a critical feature. Not surprisingly, much theoretical work was devoted to studying desistance, and policy-relevant discussion ensued in earnest, again not surprisingly because the justice system in general, and the correctional apparatus in particular, has a keen interest in curtailing offenders from persistent offending. Unfortunately, the study of desistance requires longitudinal data spanning at least the first two decades of life, but ideally would follow individuals much longer as antisocial behavior continues (to zig and zag) well into middle to late-middle adulthood. It was only until the last quarter century that such data sets “aged,” much like a fine wine or bourbon, and permitted such analyses both in the US and abroad. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the theoretical and conceptual issues surrounding the topic of desistance, as well as a review of the theoretical and empirical work regarding it. As well, we pay particular attention to the role of desistance in prevention, intervention, rehabilitation, and punishment programs and policies, and we highlight a few directions for empirical research. In doing so, we take a look at whether it is possible to “force the plant,” as the Gluecks (1937/1966, p. 205) wondered nearly 80 years ago, “so that benign maturation [desistance] will occur earlier than it seems to at present.”
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdom
dc.relation.ispartofbooktitleHandbook of crime prevention and community safety - 2nd edition
dc.subject.fieldofresearchCriminology not elsewhere classified
dc.title"Forcing the plant": desistance from crime and crime prevention
dc.typeBook chapter
dc.type.descriptionB1 - Chapters
dc.type.codeB - Book Chapters
gro.hasfulltextNo Full Text
gro.griffith.authorPiquero, Alex R.

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