1st Edition

Cultures of Desistance
Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Ethnic Minorities

ISBN 9780415623483
Published March 26, 2014 by Routledge
240 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

In contrast to the widespread focus on ethnicity in relation to engagement in offending, the question of whether or not processes associated with desistance – that is the cessation and curtailment of offending behaviour – vary by ethnicity has received less attention. This is despite known ethnic differences in factors identified as affecting disengagement from offending, such as employment, place of residence, religious affiliation and family structure, providing good reasons for believing differences would exist. This book seeks to address this oversight. Using data obtained from in-depth qualitative interviews it investigates the processes associated with desistance from crime among offenders drawn from some of the principal minority ethnic groups in the United Kingdom.

Cultures of Desistance explores how structural (families, friends, peer groups, employment, social capital) and cultural (religion, values, recognition) ethnic differences affected the environment in which their desistance took place. For Indians and Bangladeshis, desistance was characterised as a collective experience involving their families actively intervening in their lives. In contrast, Black and dual heritage offenders’ desistance was a much more individualistic endeavour. The book suggests a need for a research agenda and justice policy that are sensitive to desisters’ structural location, and for a wider culture which promotes and supports desisters’ efforts.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Literature Review  3. Methodology  4. Indians and their Desistance from Crime  5. Bangladeshis and Desistance from Crime  6. Experiences of Desistance among Black and Dual Heritage Offenders  7. Thinking Through Ethnic Differences in Experiences of Desistance  8. Conclusion  Appendix I: Research Outline: Ethnicity and Desistance from Crime.  Appendix II: Research Instrument Minority Ethnic Desistance Study

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Dr. Adam Calverley is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Hull, UK.


Adam Calverley’s book constitutes another significant leap forward in desistance research. His key contribution rests in offering an in-depth examination of the ways in which structural contexts and cultural aspects of ethnicity affect the terrain on which people travel the road from crime. While these desistance journeys share many common themes, Calverley’s study elucidates how different sorts of opportunities, assets, resources and relationships impact on the people involved – for better or worse. His book will be of profound value not just to academic researchers seeking to develop our understandings of desistance but to anyone and everyone with a professional or a personal interest in supporting people in the desistance process.

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

"Desistance offers a strength-based approach to considering engagement in and disengagement from crime, and this book is a welcome and overdue addition to the desistance literature that focuses on how ethnicity […] influences the processes of desistance in ethnic minority offender populations in the United Kingdom."

 Marilyn Chetty, Probation Journal.

"The study of cultural differences in relation to desistance makes an important contribution to the gap in the literature. This book is a valuable resources for academics interested in the area of research."

Esther Van Ginneken, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice

"Calverley’s attention to detail ensures that the book achieves what any good monograph should: it is informative, relevant and interesting. Nuanced desistance research like this and other new studies have the capacity to be  game-changers in shifting the focus of the race and crime debate away from pathologybased, criminogenic risk focussed research – which may inadvertently entrench negative representations of ethnic minorities – towards fresh perspectives and proactive partnerships which generate different, better futures and research agendas."

Hannah Graham, University of Tasmania, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Volume 48(1)