Black men’s desistance: the racialisation of crime/criminal justice systems and its impacts on the desistance process

Glynn, Martin (2013) Black men’s desistance: the racialisation of crime/criminal justice systems and its impacts on the desistance process. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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Desistance is increasingly conceptualised as a theoretical construct which is used to explain how offenders orient themselves away from committing crimes. Previous studies suggest that successful desistance occurs due to one or a number of factors. These factors include things such as: becoming a father and thereby recognising one’s responsibilities to others (Maruna, 2011); faith based conversion that can give one’s life meaning and purpose (Giordano et al, 2002); employment that can improve self-esteem, offer legitimate financial gain and enable development of a stronger sense of one’s ‘social capital’ (Maruna, 2011), on account of psychosocial processes (Healey 2010), personal and social circumstances which are space and place specific (Flynn, 2010), vary by ethnicity (Calverley, (2013). Whereas (Giordano, 2002) examines the gendered nature of desistance, to date there has been little work undertaken to examine the racialisation of crime and criminal justice systems and its impact on the desistance process. ‘Racialisation’ draws attention to the process of making ‘race’ relevant to a particular situation or context, such as criminal justice systems, (Garner, 2009). A key theoretical framework employed throughout this research is Critical Race Theory (CRT) that has been widely applied to law (Delgado and Stefanic, 2005); education, (Ladson-Billings 1995); and more recently sport (Hylton, 2005). This thesis used CRT as the analytical framework and developed a ‘counter narrative’ for the racialised voices of black men in relation to their perceptions of the desistance process. Drawing upon data from thirty one interviews with black men in the community from Birmingham, black men in the Therapeutic Community (TC) at HMP Grendon, and black men from the city of Baltimore (USA) this thesis explores how those perceptions of the racialisation of crime/criminal justice systems impacts on the desistance process for black men.

This thesis concludes by arguing that to understand black men’s desistance, the interrogation of race, gender, and other identity categories should not to be treated as separate entities, as that position denies the complexities of multiple identities in relation to black men’s own understandings and insights into the desistance process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
February 2013Completed
Subjects: L300 Sociology
L400 Social Policy
L900 Others in Social studies
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Criminology and Sociology
REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2017 13:44
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2020 10:33

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