Multiple Identities and Desistance: An Analysis of Gender, Race, and Social Class Differences

Dawn K. Cecil, University of Maryland

Within some of the feminist criminology literature, it has been suggested that it is important to look beyond gender differences in our criminological studies by considering other ways in which people differ, such as by race and social class. The intersection of gender, race, and social class has been referred to as multiple identities or as Daly (1993) calls it multiple inequalities. These multiple identities shape our day-to-day lives and are, therefore, an important consideration in our criminological research. This study on desistance from crime takes multiple identities into consideration. Using Wheeler et al.'s (1998) and Weisburd et al.'s (2000) data on white-collar criminals convicted in Federal court, this study examines the influence of social stability on desistance from crime. More specifically, it examines how the influence of marriage, parenthood and employment on desistance varies based on the gender, race, and social class of the offender. It is believed that since these multiple identities shape life experiences, marriage, parenthood and employment will not have a uniform effect on desistance for all offenders.

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Updated 05/20/2006