A Descriptive Model of Desistance From Sexual Offending: Examining the Narratives of Men Released From Custody

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Harris, Danielle Arlanda
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2016
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Abstract

Despite an increasing interest in desistance from sexual offending, a comprehensive theoretical account of the process has yet to be provided. This study examines the narratives of 60 men interviewed in the community, who were incarcerated for sexual offenses and released. Recent findings from this research conclude that men desist from sexual offending, but they seldom follow the processes described by traditional criminology. In many cases, in fact, they desist in spite of their inability to pursue Sampson and Laub’s “informal social controls” or Giordano et al.’s “hooks for change.” The relentless impact of current public policies such as community notification and electronic monitoring further impedes their likelihood of experiencing Maruna’s “Pygmalion effect” or achieving true cognitive transformation or agentic change. The descriptive model introduced here identifies four styles of desistance from sexual offending: “age,” “resignation,” “rote,” and “resilience.” Relevant implications are discussed.

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International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

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60

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15

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Criminology

Criminology not elsewhere classified

Psychology

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