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Career criminal

Desistance: It’s a Process, Not an Event

April 2022
Series
Desistance is the process of individuals ceasing engagement in criminal activity. It may sound simple but it is quite complex, and the more we understand it, the better equipped we are to help accelerate the process before people are incarcerated or once they leave prison or jail. NIJ Journal Editor Beth Pearsall hosts a conversation on this topic with Senior Social Science Analyst Marie Garcia, Senior Advisor Ben Adams, and Social Science Research Analyst Kaitlyn Sill.

Desistance From Crime: Implications for Research, Policy, and Practice

November 2021

Most scholars would agree that desistance from crime – the process of ceasing engagement in criminal activities – is normative. However, there is variability in the literature regarding the definition and measurement of desistance, the signals of desistance, the age at which desistance begins, and the underlying mechanisms that lead to desistance. Even with considerable advances in the theoretical understanding of desistance from crime, there remain critical gaps between research and the application of that research to practice.