Desistance From Offending: an Examination of the Potential Influences of Adult Institutions




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Persistent offending over the life-course is marked by young adulthood as it is this age range that lies between the two general natural declines of criminal behavior (late adolescence and late adulthood). Debate within the desistance literature is ongoing into what components are essential to the initiation and termination of anti-social behavior. One approach argues for turning points that encourage prosocial conformity while others advocate that a prosocial cognitive shift is essential. The current study extends the literature by examining the impact of adult institutions on the criminal desistance process while employing a cognitive element. Findings indicate some support for the unique contribution of turning points, however, it remains unclear the full impact of these institutions and identity reformation and where they lie causally within the desistance process. The implications of these findings regarding policy approaches as well as recommendations and paths for future research are discussed.



Sociology, Criminology and Penology, Education, Social Sciences