Social Capital, Probation Supervision and Desistance From Crime

Stephen Farrall, University of Keele
Benjamin Bowling, University of London

In recent years increasing attention has been given to the later stages of 'criminal careers', and in particular to the reasons why people stop offending. From initial and subsequent explorations a number of factors have emerged as being related to the ending of offending careers. For serious persistent offenders, betrayal by co-offenders, experiencing traumatic events during the commission of crimes and finding prison increasingly hard to cope with have been found to be related to desistance. For those less committed to a criminal lifestyle, other factors - including leaving home, 'settling down' with a partner, entry into the labor market and disassociation from delinquent peers - are amongst the key correlates of desistance. The purpose of the current presentation is to explore the most salient of these feelings in theoretical terms, and in particular to explore desistance in relation to an emerging concept in criminology - social capital. Examples of the processes associated with social capital and the continuation (or otherwise) of offending careers are drawn from a recently completed study of probation supervision undertaken in the UK.

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Updated 05/20/2006