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Desistance from Crime Over the Life Course

For this project, researchers are examining the situational factors that impact offenders’ desistance from crime and violence. Offenders released from prison in 2004 will be interviewed and DOC data will be collected to form a complete picture of offenders’ backgrounds.

Project Team

  • Co-Investigator: Julie Horney, Ph.D., Department of Sociology & Criminology (jzh11@psu.edu)
  • Co-Investigator: Doris MacKenzie, Ph.D., Adjunct Senior Scientist in Criminology- Retired

About the Project

  • 3 year NIJ-funded study in collaboration with RTI.
  • Tracking offenders released from prison in 2004 who were studied in a previous RTI project.

Research Questions

  • What situational factors impact offenders’ desistance from crime and violence? (marriage, divorce, employment, education, etc.)
  • How do rehabilitation programs help offenders? How does cognitive transformation affect desistance?

Project Details

  • Obtain data from Indiana and South Carolina Departments of Corrections for record of life time incarcerations.
  • In-person interviews to collect information on demographics, attitudes, life events, and criminal activity.

Implications

  • Results will increase knowledge about factors associated with desistance from crime.
  • Long-term outcomes will help researchers better understand whether cognitive transformation is necessary as a prerequisite to desistance.