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NCJ Number: 205087 Find in a Library
Title: Desistance From Crime: Is it Different for Women and Girls? (From After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Offender Reintegration, P 181-197, 2004, Shadd Maruna and Russ Immarigeon, eds. -- See NCJ-205080)
Author(s): Gill McIvor; Cathy Murray; Janet Jamieson
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter examines gender differences in the experience of desistance from crime by drawing upon existing literature and upon the further analysis for data from the authors' study of juvenile offending in Scotland (Jamieson et al., 1999).
Abstract: The study involved in-depth interviews with 376 juveniles (138 males and 138 females) in 3 age groups: 14- to 15-years-old, 18- to 19-years-old, and 22- to 25-years-old. The samples were drawn from two Scottish towns that had crime rates close to the national average. Topics addressed in the interviews were education; employment; use of leisure and lifestyle; drug and alcohol use; offending; relationships with family, friends, and partners; neighborhood, community, and society; values and beliefs; victimization; identity; and aspirations for the future. Prior to being interviewed, the juveniles completed a self-report questionnaire about their offending behavior. Based on responses, the juveniles were placed in one of three categories based on the recency and seriousness of their self-reported offending. The categories were "resisters" (n=92), if they had never offended; "desisters" (n=75), if they had offended in the past but not in the previous 12 months; and as "persisters" (n=109), if they had committed at least 1 serious offense or several less serious offenses in the previous 12 months. A remarkable degree of consistency was observed in the experiences, views, and attitudes of the youth within each of the categories. "Desisters" were more likely than "resisters" (but less likely than "persisters") to consider that some types of offending were acceptable, to use alcohol and drugs, to "hang out" in public places, to have been involved with the police, and to express negative attitudes toward the police. They were closer to "persisters" in being more likely than "resisters" to have friends and a family member who had offended. Apparently the process of desistance may differ in some respects between male and female youth. Female respondents were more likely than their male counterparts to cite moral rather than utilitarian rationales for stopping offending, and they were more likely to emphasize the importance of relational aspects of this process. This included the views of parents, experiences of victimization, the assumption of parental responsibilities, and dissociation from offending peers. Young men, on the other hand, more often emphasized personal choice and agency in their decisions not to offend. The most striking finding was that "desisters" almost invariably occupied the middle position between "resisters" and "persisters" regarding a range of factors. Female "desisters" seemed to be more influenced than males, however, by the desire to project a certain image of being law-abiding. Perhaps this was due to the pressure on girls to be moral and "proper." As Worrall (1990) has indicated, the woman who offends is viewed as having broken both the law and the "gender contract." Recognizing the social construction of women's offending is therefore critical to understanding the meaning and process of desistance among young women who offend. 27 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Foreign criminal justice research; Gender issues; Juvenile Recidivism; Recidivism causes; Scotland
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