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Home > ‘An inside job’: An autobiographical account of desistance.

Hart, Wayne and Healy, Deirdre (2018) ‘An inside job’: An autobiographical account of desistance. European Journal of Probation , 10 , (2) , pp. 103-119.


Various theories have been put forward to explain the processes underpinning desistance from crime. To provide additional insights into this phenomenon, this article presents an autobiographical account of one man’s journey towards a crime-free life. The narrative reveals a change process that is at once personal and universal, and describes the external forces that shaped his pathway to desistance as well as his experiences of personal fortitude and agency. In addition, it highlights the role of probation supervision as a catalyst for change. The autobiographical account is accompanied by a reflective academic commentary that situates these personal life experiences within the wider desistance literature. While the reader may view the autobiographical tone of this article as subjective, it should be noted that the account is not simply a re-telling of an individual life story but offers a critical appraisal of existing knowledge viewed through the lens of one person’s journey towards desistance.

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