EXAMINING THE PREVALENCE OF CRIMINAL DESISTANCE*

Authors


  • *

    Note: The authors are members of the National Consortium on Violence Research.

  • Robert Brame is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina. His research interests center on juvenile delinquency and criminological theory.

  • Shawn D. Bushway is an Assistant Professor of Criminology in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. He received his Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis and Political Economy in 1996 from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. His current research focuses on understanding the process of desistance and disparity in sentencing outcomes.

  • Raymond Paternoster is Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. His research interests include criminological theory, quantitative methods in criminology, and issues related to the death penalty.

Abstract

Criminological theorists and criminal justice policy makers place a great deal of importance on the idea of desistance. In general terms, criminal desistance refers to a cessation of offending activity among those who have offended in the past. Some significant challenges await those who would estimate the relative size of the desisting population or attempt to identify factors that predict membership in that population. In this paper, we consider several different analytic frameworks that represent an array of plausible definitions. We then illustrate some of our ideas with an empirical example from the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort Study.

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