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Desistance as an Intergenerational Process

NCJ Number
Annual Review of Criminology Volume:   7 Dated: 2024 Pages:  85-104  
Date Published
January 2024
20 pages

This article provides information about desistance as an intergenerational process.


In this article, researchers introduce the concept of intergenerational desistance and provide guidance on measuring and explaining this process, encouraging researchers to think of the life-course of crime in terms of both individuals and generations. The authors first review research on the intergenerational transmission of family criminality and criminal justice contact, relying also on research outside of criminology to highlight how using broader conceptions of the family, including social parents, entire generations, and three (or more) generations could enliven this area. Bridging these literatures allows researchers to then introduce the concept of intergenerational desistance, elaborate on the concept of intergenerational escalation, and demonstrate how they can be measured using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). The authors close by developing a research agenda for considering intergenerational desistance and escalation in ways that enhance understanding of how the life-course of crime, criminal justice contact, and other troubles in life (e.g., with alcohol, drugs, and mental health) progress through families. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2024