King, Samuel Joshua (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis explores primary desistance as a transitional phase between offending and crime cessation. Recent work has explored desistance within an integrated theoretical
framework, combining elements of both structure and agency theories, and this thesis builds upon this by exploring the initial transitions towards desistance, and the prospective strategies to sustain it, among a group of adult male offenders under Probation supervision. Where agency has been employed in such accounts its conceptualisation has tended to be vague, and this thesis seeks to address this by
examining agency as the temporally located reflexive deliberations of adult offenders upon their future goals and present social environment. This allows for the
identification of individuals’ future goals in relation to desistance and the strategies that they intend to pursue to achieve them, in relation to their personal and social contexts.
The thesis finds that recent Probation policy has delimited the role of supervising officer towards that of Offender Manager, which inhibits the relationship between officer and offender such that would-be desisters tend to revert to past repertoires of thought and action in their strategies. This is likely to sustain the social contexts that led
to offending in the past, and is likely to hinder desistance in the future.
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