Citation Graham H & McNeill F (2017) Desistance: Envisioning Futures. In: Carlen P, França LA (ed.). Alternative Criminologies, London: Routledge, pp. 433-451.
Abstract This chapter provides an overview of desistance scholarship, surveying some of the major theoretical and empirical explanations of how and why people stop offending, and exploring the implications of this body of work for criminal justice. Traditionally, criminology has been focused on the study of crime and in particular on the causes of crime, as well as criminal justice responses to it. By comparison, examining how and why people stop and refrain from offending, and considering which criminal justice responses might support or frustrate such processes has a much shorter history. We would argue that it is also an area of study which, despite being in some senses bound by its focus on crime and offending, nonetheless transcends more orthodox criminological concerns and ultimately compels those who study it to engage with more fundamental questions of political philosophy (as well as with other disciplinary perspectives). We want to argue therefore that desistance research is (or at least can be) a form of ‘alternative criminology’ both in the way it frames its objects of inquiry and in the ways it pushes it towards disciplinary borders and intersections.