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Desistance From Crime: Is it Different for Women and Girls?

McIvor, Gill
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Shadd Maruna and Russ Immarigeon, eds, After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Offender Reintegration. Devon, UK and Portland Oregon: Willan Publishing. Pp. 181-200.

The study involved in-depth interviews with 376 juveniles (138 males and 138 females) in 3 age groups: 14- to 15-years-old, 18- to 19-years-old, and 22- to 25-years-old. The samples were drawn from two Scottish towns that had crime rates close to the national average. Topics addressed in the interviews were education; employment; use of leisure and lifestyle; drug and alcohol use; offending; relationships with family, friends, and partners; neighborhood, community, and society; values and beliefs; victimization; identity; and aspirations for the future. Prior to being interviewed, the juveniles completed a self-report questionnaire about their offending behavior. Based on responses, the juveniles were placed in one of three categories based on the recency and seriousness of their self-reported offending. The categories were “resisters” (n=92), if they had never offended; “desisters” (n=75), if they had offended in the past but not in the previous 12 months; and as “persisters” (n=109), if they had committed at least 1 serious offense or several less serious offenses in the previous 12 months. A remarkable degree of consistency was observed in the experiences, views, and attitudes of the youth within each of the categories. “Desisters” were more likely than “resisters” (but less likely than “persisters”) to consider that some types of offending were acceptable, to use alcohol and drugs, to “hang out” in public places, to have been involved with the police, and to express negative attitudes toward the police. They were closer to “persisters” in being more likely than “resisters” to have friends and a family member who had offended. Apparently the process of desistance may differ in some respects between male and female youth. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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