1st Edition

Comparing Pathways of Desistance An International Perspective

By Ruwani Fernando Copyright 2024
    250 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a comparative study of desistance from crime by analysing and comparing the narratives of English and French desisters. In doing so, it uncovers how national and structural differences may lead to varying individual pathways out of crime.

    Comparing Pathways of Desistance draws on the themes of family, education, onset of offending, employment, offending, experiences and perspectives of the criminal justice system, stories of desistance, support networks, and projections into the future. In addition, this book also explores topics that are less commonly looked at in desistance studies such as ambitions of entrepreneurship and leisure activities. It examines the ways in which people make sense of their experiences of offending and desisting, identifies differences and similarities between English and French desisters, and reflects on how these differences and similarities inform us on the influences of national contexts on individual pathways of desistance.

    An accessible and compelling read this book will appeal to students and scholars of criminology, sociology, desistance, politics, social policy and all those interested in the differences between English and French desisters.

    1. Introduction: Taking Stock of the Knowledge About Desistance from Crime  2.Theoretical and Methodological Frameworks for Cross-national Comparative Research  3.Setting the Societal and Criminal Justice Contexts  4.Understanding Desisters: Looking to the Past  5.Understanding Desistance: Making Sense of Change  6.Mechanisms of Change: The Role of Support Systems  7.Experiences and Perspectives of Probation Supervision  8.What Desistance ‘Looks’ Like: Comparing Typical Days in the Lives of Desisters  9.Discussing the Differences: Narratives and Pathways of Desistance in England and France


    Ruwani Fernando is a lecturer and early career researcher at Sheffield Hallam University. Her research seeks to explore desistance from crime from a cross-national comparative lens to better understand processes of change. Ruwani has been involved in research about desistance, rehabilitation, probation, and prison resettlement, in both the UK and France.

    “Comparing experiences and contexts of desistance in England and France, Ruwani Fernando’s fascinating book represents a significant advance in our understanding of how desistance differs in different places. But as an added bonus, her comparison of how different kinds of probation supervision influence these processes makes a valuable contribution to comparative criminal justice too. As a result, this should be required reading for anyone interested in desistance or probation studies.”

    Professor Fergus McNeill, University of Glasgow

    “A great text on desistance authored by French scholar Fernando. Its comparative nature (France/England), and, in the French case, with a very diverse sample, reveals that despite the extensive body of literature accumulated in recent years, much remains to be uncovered on desistance and culture.”

    Professor Martine Herzog-Evans, University of Reims

    "Criminological writing sometimes seems to presume that desistance a universal process that is the same regardless of context. In this fascinating comparative study between France and the UK, Ruwani demonstrates that the self-narratives that support desistance from crime are culturally specific projects that draw on the stories provided by literature, religion, and the wider culture of our societies. The implication is that if we want less crime, we need to create cultures of desistance." 

    Professor Shadd Maruna, Queen's University Belfast