Graham H (2014) Understanding Desistance from Crime: Engaging the Critics. Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2014 (8th Annual), Melbourne, Australia, 04.12.2014-05.12.2014. http://profiles.arts.monash.edu.au/asher-flynn/files/2012/06/Final-Program.pdf
The desistance paradigm and desistance-oriented policies and practices focus on understanding how and why people stop offending, and supporting factors which enable people to embark on processes of desistance from crime and positive change. Salient questions and critiques have been raised in light of the growing international popularity of desistance scholarship and its real world applications within and beyond the borders of punishment and criminal justice. The paper outlines and responds to key criticisms of desistance raised by those with Marxist, feminist and other critical perspectives within criminology. Important questions emerge: what are the social determinants of desistance, and how might these impact differently in the lives of members of particular social groups? To what extent does desistance scholarship lend itself to informing progressive penal reform agendas and the reconfiguration of criminal justice and social control? It is argued that more radical and transformative realisations of the desistance paradigm in practice have significant synergies with the vision, intents and purposes of much of those of critical criminology.
Desistance; critical criminology; criminological theory; structure; agency; penal reform