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“Trying to pull it round again”:Exploring Women’s Experiences of Desisting from Crime

Goodwin, Sarah (2016) “Trying to pull it round again”:Exploring Women’s Experiences of Desisting from Crime. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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The lives of women who are trying to put offending histories behind them remain rare in research. This thesis follows fifteen women, all near the start of their journeys to cease their criminal behaviour, over a number of months. Their experiences, struggles and triumphs underline the challenge they faced in trying to 'pull their lives round again'. The micro-longitudinal design of the research allowed for interviews to be conducted in a sensitive, trusting and relaxed manner, producing rich data on the process of desistance as it was experienced. Although a number of important influences on the participants' journeys can be identified, it is the interconnections between these influences that really show the complexity of the participants' tasks. Few influences are found to be exclusively beneficial, and some influences that have previously been assumed to be negative are shown to be more nuanced. Specific findings on the role of agency, identity, confidence and social relationships were identified. First, the importance of agentic action in desistance is shown to be (sometimes heavily) tempered by external circumstances. Second, participants often experienced a change of identity- either in gaining a new 'self', or returning to a previous 'self', as part of their desistance. Third, much importance was placed by participants (and their workers) on gaining confidence and escaping stigma, but the methods used to do this varied considerably in their effectiveness. Finally, social support which showed true care of the desister made desistance much easier, but the negative influences of some others were serious barriers to participants' success. The thesis concludes by commenting on the impact these findings make on existing desistance research and the implications it could, and should, have on future policy, practice and research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Law (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.698286
Depositing User: Mrs Sarah Goodwin
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2016 14:16
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14354

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