Black Men, Invisibility and Crime: Towards a Critical Race Theory of Desistance (Hardback) book cover

Black Men, Invisibility and Crime

Towards a Critical Race Theory of Desistance

By Martin Glynn

© 2014 – Routledge

186 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138933675
pub: 2015-08-26
Hardback: 9780415715355
pub: 2013-12-02
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315881874
pub: 2013-12-04
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Past studies have suggested that offenders desist from crime due to a range of factors, such as familial pressures, faith based interventions or financial incentives. To date, little has been written about the relationship between desistance and racialisation. This book seeks to bring much needed attention to this under-researched area of criminological inquiry.

Martin Glynn builds on recent empirical research in the UK and the USA and uses Critical Race Theory as a framework for developing a fresh perspective about black men’s desistance. This book posits that the voices and collective narrative of black men offers a unique opportunity to refine current understandings of desistance. It also demonstrates how new insights can be gained by studying the ways in which elements of the desistance trajectory are racialised.

This book will be of interest both to criminologists and sociologists engaged with race, racialisation, ethnicity, and criminal justice.


‘Race is the elephant in the room in all of criminology, and few of us are brave enough to acknowledge it. Martin Glynn’s remarkable new book isn’t just brave, it is fearless. The elephant is finally within our grasp.’

Shadd Maruna, Director of Institute of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.

‘Martin Glynn’s challenging new book is an important and novel contribution to debates about desistance – but it is also more than that. Rather than focusing on how ethnicity affects desistance, he draws on critical race theory – and on the accounts of "Black British" and "African American" men he interviewed -- to examine how racism and racialisation influenced the men’s life chances and pathways through crime and justice. In seeking to develop a "black criminology of desistance", Martin Glynn’s analysis enjoins and compels us also to engage with the racialised politics of crime and justice – and of criminology itself.’

Fergus McNeill, Professor of Criminology & Social Work, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

‘In the book Black Men, Invisibility and Crime, Martin Glynn has produced an innovative and crucially important monograph that provides keen insights into desistance among Black men.

Drawing on Critical Race Theory, Martin skilfully explores the contours of desistance specific to the condition and experience of Black men. His fresh comparative perspective provides readers with an examination of the analogous and divergent desistance concerns among Black men in Briton and America. Martin is clearly an important scholar on the rise whose thoughts on re-entry and desistance in the Black community need to be heard by the discipline and the larger criminal justice community in the UK and the USA.’

Shaun Gabbidon, Professor of Criminal Justice, Penn State Harrisburg, USA.

"This book provides a much needed and surprisingly overdue in depth analysis of black men’s views of their own desistance. The author is extremely credible and gathers insights that numerous criminologists would be unable to gather through ethnography or any other means. It is clearly aimed at promoting further research and provides a compelling argument for other criminologists to take forward."

Paul Crossey, Head of Admissions and Care (Young People) at HMYOI Feltham

The Prison Journal, May 2015

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, 2. Racialisation and criminalisation, 3. Approaching black men's desistance, 4. Developing a black criminology of desistance, 5. Black men and the barriers towards desistance, 6. Black men, therapeutic interventions and desistance, 7. African American men and their desistance, 8. A theoretical framework of masculinities in relation to black men's desistance, 9. A critical race theory of desistance, 10. New directions for black male desistance.

About the Author

Martin Glynn is Research Assistant at the University of Wolverhampton and completed his PhD at Birmingham City University, where he is also a visiting lecturer. His research interests include desistance, race/racialisation and crime, critical race theory, ethnodrama, masculinities and crime, and crime and social determinants of health.

About the Series

International Series on Desistance and Rehabilitation

In recent years there has been a dramatic growth in the attention given to the end of the criminal career. Prior to the 1980s, research on why people stopped offending and the processes associated with ‘leaving crime behind’ was a small and embryonic field of research. The literature on reform following a period of offending was patchy and did not constitute in any way, shape or form a body of knowledge which could be considered as ‘key’ to the criminological enterprise. This situation has now changed. The study of desistance in particular has now become an important aspect of the criminological enterprise with several UK and European research studies now focussing on this topic. Further afield (in the US and Australia for example, but certainly not limited to these

countries) there are also a number of scholars who are exploring desistance (and by association rehabilitation and reform) and the processes by which these occur amongst particular communities and for key groups of offenders. This is domain of research is therefore fertile ground for the production of a series of monographs.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology