Explanation of Desistance From Crime

Doris Chu, University at Albany

Why do people desist from crime? Understanding how and why offenders desist from committing offense is important for the development of effective preventive strategies and rehabilitative initiatives for criminal justice practice. Scholars explain desistance from crime from the perspectives of physiological maturation, informal social control, or cognitive change. However, there is little or no research that targets or includes religiosity as part of the explanations of desistance from crime. Comparing the difference between extant theories that include explanation of desistance from crime and exploring the insufficiencies in their propositions, this paper aims to formulate a theoretical framework by including religiosity and structuration theory as a partial explanation of desistance from crime to strengthen the explanatory power of extant theories. Religiosity is incorporated as a part of informal social controls leading to conform people to conventional activity and a role contributed to the change of self-identity and self-concept. The perspectives of structuration further delineates how desistance and structural forces are interrelated in real life situation. Implications of future research were discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006