skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 229632 
Title: Promoting Desistance Among Young People (From Youth Justice Handbook: Theory, Policy and Practice, P 158-167, 2010, Wayne Taylor, Rod Earle, and Richard Hester, eds. - See NCJ-229620)
Author(s): Monica Barry
Date Published: 2010
Page Count: 10
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 Chapter
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: After briefly reviewing theories of desistance (reasons why youth stop offending), this chapter reports the views of young offenders regarding what helps and hinders them in their efforts to stop their criminal behavior.
Abstract: Theories of desistance are categorized as "individual," "structural," and "integrative." "Individual" theories of desistance emphasize maturation with age and the emergence of more rational decisionmaking regarding the costs and benefits of crime. "Structural" theories of desistance refer to events that provide new prosocial structures for a person's behavior, such as social bonds, employment, and marriage. "Integrative" theories emphasize a blend of "individual" and "structural" factors. Under this theory, individual attitudes, decisionmaking, and values prompt the search for and promotion of new prosocial structures, which in turn assist in molding new behaviors. The two studies of young offenders' views of what helps or hinders desistance from crime tend to support the "integrative" theory of desistance. Although youth tended to view their own attempts at desistance as rooted in their determination and change in values, when asked what can be done to help other youth desist from offending, they focused on the provision of improved structural opportunities to stop offending, such as providing access to education, employment, and constructive leisure and family-oriented activities. These findings suggest that rehabilitative efforts with young offenders should focus on both the cognitive roots of behaviors (attitudes, values, goals for the future, personal beliefs, etc.), but also on providing services, referrals, and contacts that facilitate young offenders engaging in new prosocial structures for daily activities. The two studies to which this chapter refers were conducted in Scotland (Barry, 2006; Cruickshank and Barry 2008), with one involving in-depth interviews with 20 male and 20 female current and ex-offenders, and the other involving interviews and focus groups with 21 young men and 14 young women. 27 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile to adult criminal careers
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Recidivism
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.