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Staying Out

Staying Out

(p.193) 10 Staying Out
After Life Imprisonment
Marieke Liem
NYU Press

Chapter ten delves deeper into the factors the interviewees mentioned as key to staying out. These included aging out of crime, a healthy fear for the conditions of parole, and self-efficacy, or having a sense of choice and control over one’s life. Non-incarcerated interviewees, as opposed to re-incarcerated individuals, reflected a strong sense of agency in their narrative. The process of desistance is thus not the result of societal forces, as emphasized by life-course theorists. Nor does it seem to be a resolution of an individual to change, as the vast majority of interviewees said that they underwent a transformation leading to a better version of themselves. What seems to be crucial for lifers in being successful in staying out on parole is a combination of social support structures, having regained a sense of control, and a strong awareness of the restraints that govern their day-to-day life.

Keywords:   desistance, life-course theory, cognitive transformation, lifers, parole, awareness, agency, self-efficacy, choice, control

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