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