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dc.contributor.advisorWelsh, Wayne N., 1957-
dc.creatorSilva, Maya Lucy
dc.date.accessioned2020-11-02T15:11:06Z
dc.date.available2020-11-02T15:11:06Z
dc.date.issued2016
dc.identifier.other965642444
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/2388
dc.description.abstractBackground. This study investigates the ways in which former offenders tell their life stories and integrate explanations for their previous criminal activity and desistance from crime into their personal narratives. It addresses an important gap in the desistance literature by including non-offenders as a comparison group. The specific aims of this study were to explore the similarities and differences in the personal narratives of desisters and non-offenders and to investigate the presence of generativity, agency and communion themes as well as the use of redemption sequences and contamination sequences in the life stories of both groups. Methods. Respondents were identified through snowball sampling and targeted advertising (e.g., an organization that provides services to ex-offenders). Two groups were interviewed: men who had committed multiple crimes after turning 21 years old but were crime-free for the past year (desisting ex-offenders) and men who grew up in similar neighborhoods but reported no involvement in crime as adults (non-offenders). The final sample consisted of 19 desisters and 12 non-offenders; groups were matched on age and other background characteristics. Data collection included a life story interview and a set of open-ended questions about the respondent's juvenile offending and adult criminal history. Participants also completed two standardized instruments to assess generative concern and generative behavior: the Loyola Generativity Scale (LGS) and the Generative Behavior Checklist (GBC). Analyses identified themes through open coding, examined the structure of life narratives, and applied pre-established coding schemes for agency, communion and generativity themes and redemption and contamination sequences. Results. Overall, the life stories of desisters and non-offenders were remarkably similar, even if they contained dramatically different content and reflected unique personal experiences. Respondents in both groups tended to craft narratives where they drew from earlier life experiences to identify reoccurring themes that helped to explain the trajectory of their lives and express deeply held beliefs about who they are as people. Desisters and non-offenders also were very similar in their use of redemption sequences and agency, communion and generativity themes. On the two generativity surveys, the desisting group reported levels of generative concern and generative behavior that were, at the very least, equivalent to average people their own age. While almost all desisting respondents reported some kind of cognitive transformation, the degree to which they saw themselves as changing and how they described that change differed depending on the type of offenses committed. Two types of desistance narratives were identified. The hustler desistance narrative was used by former drug dealers. These men believed that they were involved in drug sales primarily for economic gain and could replace this source of income with legal pursuits. They did not view their past illegal activities as inconsistent with who they were as people. In contrast, the “real me” narrative was used by respondents who had perpetrated acts of violence. They argued that they were innately good people. Conclusions. Overall, the study’s findings were consistent with previous research results that supported the “cognitive transformation and identity” view of desistance, which emphasizes behavioral change as resulting primarily from internal rather than external sources. Previous offending patterns played an influential role in how ex-offenders viewed their past criminal activity, the ways in which they decided to change their lives, and their understanding of the desistance process. Involvement in peer-based programming, mutual support groups and mentoring relationships, whether they were institutionalized, volunteer-oriented, or self-initiated, were identified as major life changing experiences by many desisting ex-offenders. These activities also played a key role in shaping personal narratives and self-concepts in important ways that helped to sustain desistance over time.
dc.format.extent351 pages
dc.language.isoeng
dc.publisherTemple University. Libraries
dc.relation.ispartofTheses and Dissertations
dc.rightsIN COPYRIGHT- This Rights Statement can be used for an Item that is in copyright. Using this statement implies that the organization making this Item available has determined that the Item is in copyright and either is the rights-holder, has obtained permission from the rights-holder(s) to make their Work(s) available, or makes the Item available under an exception or limitation to copyright (including Fair Use) that entitles it to make the Item available.
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
dc.subjectCriminology
dc.subjectSociology
dc.subjectAgency
dc.subjectCognitive Transformation
dc.subjectDesistance
dc.subjectGenerativity
dc.subjectNarrative Research
dc.subjectNon-offenders
dc.titleExamination of the Personal Narratives of Desisters and Non-Offenders: Do They Really Differ?
dc.typeText
dc.type.genreThesis/Dissertation
dc.contributor.committeememberBelenko, Steven R.
dc.contributor.committeememberWood, Jennifer, 1971-
dc.contributor.committeememberMaruna, Shadd
dc.description.departmentCriminal Justice
dc.relation.doihttp://dx.doi.org/10.34944/dspace/2370
dc.ada.noteFor Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation, including help with reading this content, please contact scholarshare@temple.edu
dc.description.degreePh.D.
refterms.dateFOA2020-11-02T15:11:06Z


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