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Women's desistance: a review of the literature through a gendered lens

Women's desistance: a review of the literature through a gendered lens

Petrillo, Madeline ORCID: 0000-0003-2819-1366 (2022) Women's desistance: a review of the literature through a gendered lens. In: Masson, Isla and Booth, Natalie, (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Women's Experiences of Criminal Justice. Routledge International Handbooks . Routledge, London, pp. 64-74. ISBN 978-1032064307; 978-1003202295 (doi:

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Desistance theories consider how the social positionality of an individual and the opportunities to which they are exposed interact with agentic factors to bring about termination of offending and related behaviours. It has been argued that they fail to avoid the androcentricity to which most criminological theories are prone, in that they ignore structural contexts such as gender, class, and race. Research into women with convictions highlights several gendered ‘pains’ which can adversely impact their experiences of criminal justice, including trauma, childhood abuse, intimate partner abuse, relational stress, intersectional discrimination, and socio-economic disadvantage. However, by absorbing women’s experiences into the white male majority, the scholarship on desistance subjugates the specificities of women’s experiences. This chapter will provide a critical review of the key theoretical perspectives of desistance through a gendered lens, exploring how themes of relationships, identity transformation, and agency have been theorised to support desistance generally. It then interrogates these ideas from a feminist perspective using women’s desistance research; advocating that to meaningfully support women in leaving crime behind, the intersectional divergences in their desistance pathways must be understood and accounted for.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: women; desistance; feminism; gender
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Gender, Deviance & Society (GDS)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
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Last Modified: 18 Jul 2023 15:49

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