Title

Religiously motivated desistance: An exploratory study

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-19-2015

Abstract

This article examines the life-history narratives of 25 successful ex-offenders professing Christianity as the source of their desistance. Unstructured in-depth life-history interviews from adult male desisters affirm use of a "feared self" and "cognitive shifts" regarding perceptions of illegal behavior. "Condemnation scripts" and "redemption narratives," however, differ radically from those uncovered in previous research. Stories of behavior change and identity transformation achieved through private religious practice and energetic church membership dominate the narratives. Findings suggest there are diverse phenomenologies of desistance and that by more narrowly tailoring research to explore subjectivities in the desistance process, important discrepancies in perceptions of agency and structure are revealed. Three prominent desistance paradigms - Making Good, Cognitive Transformation, and Identity Theory - are used to examine the narratives.

Publication Title

International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

Volume

59

Issue

8

First Page

855

Last Page

872

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1177/0306624X14522112

PubMed ID

24535949

ISSN

0306624X

E-ISSN

15526933

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