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Desistance for a Long-Term Drug-Involved Sample of Adult Offenders: The Importance of Identity Transformation

NCJ Number
249295
Date Published
September 2015
Length
0 pages
Author(s)
Ronet Bachman, Erin Kerrison, Raymond Paternoster, Daniel O'Connell, Lionel Smith
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
Using a mixed-race sample of male and female drug-involved offenders who were released from prison in the early 1990s and re-interviewed in 2009 through 2011, this study is perhaps the first attempt to determine the utility of the identity theory of desistance (ITD) in explaining desistance in a contemporary cohort of adult drug-involved offenders.
Abstract
Supporting the ITD, interview narratives revealed that the vast majority of offenders who successfully desisted from crime and substance misuse had first transformed their offender identity into a non-offender identity. Although partnership and employment did not appear to be significant turning points per se for the majority of our respondents, rekindling relationships with extended family and finding living-wage employment did serve to solidify new prosocial identities once the transformation had occurred. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: July 13, 2016