Positive Growth and Redemption in Prison: Finding Light Behind Bars and Beyond, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Positive Growth and Redemption in Prison

Finding Light Behind Bars and Beyond, 1st Edition

By Lila Kazemian


256 pages

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Hardback: 9781138312562
pub: 2019-10-28
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Although the negative consequences of rising incarceration rates have been well-established, life-course and criminal career research has largely neglected to document psychological, social, and behavioral changes that occur during periods of incarceration. Drawing on an original longitudinal study of long-term French prisoners, this book examines the process of desistance from crime and positive growth in prison. It offers reflections on how personal transformation can be achieved in prison, particularly among individuals serving long prison sentences. 

This research investigates the barriers to achieving positive growth in prison, as well as the different ways in which transformation can occur behind bars. It also conceptualizes the process of abandoning crime in prison, and sheds light on the cognitive, social and structural factors that may trigger, accelerate or hamper this process. This book explores the circumstances under which individuals can thrive in prison, and identifies key features of the narratives of prisoners who have achieved positive growth. The research presented in this book also examines the intricacies of returning to society after a lengthy period of time in prison.

Written in a clear and accessible style, this book will be invaluable reading for those engaged in studies of criminology and criminal justice, sociology, criminal behavior, prisons, and penology. It is also aimed at a variety of audiences, including academics, practitioners, policy-makers and prisoners.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The French Prison Study; 3. The Research Participants; 4. The Desistance Paradigm in Criminology and Its Application to Long-Term Incarceration; 5. Lotus in the Mud: A Conceptualization of Desistance from Crime in Prison; 6. The Barriers to Positive Growth in Prison; 7. The Distinctive Features of a Desistance Narrative; 8. The Positive Outcomes of Prison; 9. Life After Prison; 10. Conclusion

About the Author

Lila Kazemian is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, USA. She is a graduate of Université de Montréal in Canada, and she earned the Ph.D. in criminology at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. She joined the sociology faculty of John Jay College in 2006 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. She has published on the topics of desistance from crime, life-course and criminal career research, prisoner reentry, and comparative criminology. Her work has been published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Punishment & Society, the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and the European Journal of Criminology.

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. The study of desistance has now become an important aspect of the criminological enterprise. This series offers original and innovative books that explore the processes of desistance from crime and the factors that influence rehabilitation and reform.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology