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Desistance from crime

Desistance: It’s a Process, Not an Event

April 2022
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.

NIJ FY22 Research and Evaluation on Desistance from Crime

Closing Date
Grants.gov Deadline
Application JustGrants Deadline

With this solicitation, NIJ seeks proposals for rigorous evaluations of desistance-based interventions to advance understanding of strategies that might aid in the process of desistance, including programs targeting intimate partner violence. This may include proposals to expand prior evaluation efforts to extend follow-up periods. 

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.