1st Edition

Desistance and Societies in Comparative Perspective

By Dana Segev Copyright 2020
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    Scholarly exploration into how and why people stop offending (desistance from crime) has focused on the impact of internal and external factors in processes of desistance. Prior research has, in general, been undertaken within one nation and neglected the fact that desistance processes are situated within a broad social context which shapes an individual’s perceptions and actions. This book begins to fill this gap by exploring how societies and cultures shape desistance processes and experiences.

    Desistance and Societies in Comparative Perspective offers findings from a cross-national comparative mixed-method study of desistance processes in England and Israel: two countries with different social-political systems and distinct cultural attributes. The study is the first of its kind in criminology, both in terms of its key objectives and the methods utilised. The findings uncover how social structures and cultures shape individual-level experience. In particular, the findings illustrate how external and internal mechanisms in desistance processes were ‘oriented’ in particular ways, in accordance with contextual factors. The book outlines five contextual factors which were key in shaping the dynamics of desistance across societies and cultures. These are:

    • cultural scripts;
    • social climates;
    • shared values and norms;
    • social interactions and encounters; and
    • distinct cultural characteristics.

    These five factors provide a contextual framework within which to understand the role of cultures and social structures in shaping agency and experiences in processes of desistance, and with which to account for variances and similarities across societies and cultures. Written in a clear and direct style, this book will appeal to students and scholars in criminology, sociology, cultural studies, social theory and those interested in learning about why and how people desist from crime.


    Series Editor Introduction


    1. Introduction: Exploring experiences and processes of desistance across societies

    2. Criminal careers, lessons from comparative studies, and a theoretical approach for comparative cross-national desistance research

    3. Cultures, justice, and comparative research in England and Israel

    4. Negotiating social (re)integration in criminal justice settings

    5. Identity, agency, and the role of social-structural factors

    6. Stigma, employment, and leaving crime behind

    7. (Un)Interrupted families, romantic relationships, and peers

    8. Cross-national comparison of time-space budget in England and Israel

    9. Concluding thoughts about similarities and differences across societies: A contextual framework for understanding desistance processes and an overview of findings





    Dana Segev completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield; MSc at the University of Oxford; and BA at Monash University. She is an independent researcher and her work explores desistance processes across countries and cultures, with the objective of uncovering the impact of contextual factors on individual-level experience. She also co-authored the edited book Positive Criminology.

    Shadd Maruna,

    Professor of Criminology

    Queen’s University Belfast

    "The literature on desistance from crime has gone global in recent decades, but lacks a comparative framework for understanding cultural differences in these socio-cognitive dynamics. With this fascinating cross-cultural analysis, Dana Segev has opened up an exciting and much needed new direction in the field that will become a catalyst for future work of this kind."

    Fergus McNeill

    Professor of Criminology & Social Work

    University of Glasgow

    'By examining desistance amongst probationers in England and Israel, Dana Segev’s book makes a critically important contribution to the 'coming of age’ of desistance research. Through a careful and compelling elaboration of previously under-developed connections between sociological theory, comparative criminal justice and desistance theories — and via her own empirical work -- Segev helps us understand the socio-structural, cultural and interactional dynamics at play in desistance processes. This book is a must-read for desistance and probation scholars, students and practitioners alike.’

    David Best

    Professor of Criminology

    The University of Derby

    "Desistance and societies in comparative perspective" extends desistance literature beyond Anglo-European countries to include Israel, uses a comparative lens lacking in much prior work and identifies social/societal factors that differ between locations. Dana writes beautifully and this is a major work for desistance scholars to consider".