|Most men and many women will, during their lifetime, commit a criminal offence of one sort or another. One in three men and one in twelve women 'in England and Wales will even be convicted of a (non-motoring) crime by the time they are 40 years old. However, research suggests that most offending 'careers' are brief, and neither nasty nor brutish. In contrast to the extensive work which has aimed to describe and explain how and why delinquent behavior starts and persists, very little has been directed at explaining how and why it stops. Drawing on diverse theoretical perspectives and a review of empirical research evidence, this paper aims to contribute to an understanding of the process by which men and women who, having made a 'false start', come to desist from crime. The paper identifies directions for future research and draws out implications for the practice of preventing re-offending.
(Return to Program Resources)