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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines persistence and desistance in criminal offending. Persistence in criminal offending may be observed when subjects are followed for a sufficiently long period and found to have maintained a certain level of offending. Desistance is discussed when offending declines to a zero or close-to-zero level, with other parameters also clearly defined. This chapter first discusses the challenges in the identification of persistent offenders. It then provides a review of evidence on the age–crime relationship and heterogeneous patterns of desistance. The controversy surrounding desistance as a process or a discrete point is also examined. The chapter also summarizes the theoretical underpinnings of desistance, before concluding with a discussion on the future of research on desistance.

Keywords: persistence, desistance, criminal offending, age–crime relationship, desistance patterns, persistent offenders

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