Desistance in Transition: Exploring the desistance narratives of intensive probationers within the context of "Transforming Rehabilitation"

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Christopher Kay


Desistance from crime can generally be considered to constitute a transition from a state of offending to one of non-offending, along with the underlying processes that support this transition. While the available literature has examined the impact of social structures such as employment, relationships and family formation on desistance transitions, the impact of involvement in perhaps less influential social structures has been largely overlooked. Not only this but, with a few notable exceptions (for instance Barry, 2010a), there is a shortage of literature surrounding the impact of this transitional phase itself, and the limiting factors associated with it, on to the ability for ex-offenders to maintain desistance. If, as is often the case for young adults, desistance transitions are undertaken alongside numerous other transitions (such as the transition into adulthood and between youth and adult criminal justice provisions), how do ex-offenders negotiate all of these transitions in their early stages and how do wider structural changes impact upon behaviours being attempted within this multiple liminality? Through the use of 18 double narrative interviews with probationers on an Intensive Community Order, 10 semi structured interviews with probation staff, 6 months of observations and the collection of probationer "End Data", the current research was able to understand the ways in which initial desistance transitions are maintained by probationers within the context of a probation service which was transitioning around them. It was found that the disruption to probation supervision (which was deemed to be a structural source of support outside the "big structures" evidenced in the literature), impacted upon the rhythms and routines of probationers in the sample, challenging their ontological security and fledgling pro-social identities developed in this transitional state.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2016