Chapter nine arrives at the question who was able to stay out of prison after re-entry, and who was not. It first discusses the strategies these lifers employed to navigate the conditions of parole. The interviewees mentioned several reasons in terms of ‘failing’ to stay out of prison: Being recalled for political reasons; catching up too quickly for lost time; falling back into old habits, and returning to prison as a safe place. The vast majority of re-incarcerated lifers returned to prison as a result of a technical violation, not a new criminal offense (criminal recidivism). What we should thus be questioning is not how these lifers are actively ‘going straight’ or desist, but rather, how they manage their parole conditions and similarly, how the parole system manages its parolees. The chapter further details how lifers experience their re-incarceration, with particular attention to older lifers.
Keywords: recidivism, criminal recidivism, desistance, lifers, parole, technical violations, criminal violations, re-entry