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Mechanisms Underlying Desistance from Crime

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $797,079)

The goal of this investigative effort is to provide a portrait of the process of desisting from crime based on analyses of similarly aged desisters, persisters, and intermittent offenders. This research team proposes a three (3) year effort involving a mixed-method approach that will provide new insights about the relative salience of individual-level and social mechanisms driving change, and greater specificity regarding underpinnings of the various pathways. The goal is to inform policy priorities and the design of more effective programmatic efforts, including gender-responsive programs.

Growth curve models will establish the importance of individual (e.g., anger identity) and social factors (e.g., criminality of partners, parents, peers and other relationship dynamics) on changes in offending/criminal behavior. To ensure validity and reliability, established scales, official records, and the multi-method approach are used and offers a way to triangulate results.

A population-based sample of 1,321 twelve (12) to eighteen (18) year olds who initially resided in Lucas County, OH will be used. This sample will be drawn from the existent Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study (TARS) dataset; longitudinal study of youth from Lucas County, OH. This stratified, random sample included an oversampling of African American (n=326) and Hispanic (n=149) adolescents and an equal number of males (n = 678) and females (n=678). TARS includes six interview waves spanning 18 years. The current average age of respondents is 32. New interviews, an on-line survey, and analyses of the six waves of existing data will be undertaken. Interviews will be conducted with 528 participants who reported criminal involvement at early waves of TARS (once they are located). These interviews will be conducted online and are expected to last 85 minutes. In-depth interviews (n = 50) with respondents will be conducted examining persistence and desistence patterns based on self-report and official records. Supplemental interviews will also be conducted with romantic partners (n=25) and a parent (n=25). Each should provide unique perspectives on desistance processes. A new survey module targeting respondents who engaged in early delinquent/criminal behavior (n=578) will be implemented to focus on barriers as well as successful desistance.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). ca/ncf

Date Created: September 13, 2019