Date of Thesis
This thesis is an investigation of destistance strategies among men sentenced to life in prison in a medium security prison in Pennsylvania. Desistance here is defined as the process leading to the cessation of formally deviant behavior. Drawing from life narrative interviews conducted among 22 men, I argue that desistance is intrinsically tied to how inmates conceptualize themselves within the institutional context of the prison and can be expanded to include people who are still incarcerated. I build off of Peggy Giordano and colleagues symbolic interactionist perspective on desistance and expand it to chart how men with life sentences order their criminal past selves and operationalize their transformed past selves. Inmate narrative espouse a view of self that morphs over time, not dissimilar to Erving Goffman's notion of the moral career, except inmates term the process "transformation," which is at odds with the rehabilitative paradigm of the institution and is a causal mechanism for identity change.
Prison, Criminology, Life Senteneces, Desistance, Rehabilitation
Bachelor of Arts
Minor, Emphasis, or Concentration
Stover, Richard, "Transformation as Desistance Inside: Temporality and Identity Reconstruction Among Men with Life Sentences" (2020). Honors Theses. 520.
Civil Rights and Discrimination Commons, Criminology Commons, Inequality and Stratification Commons, Other Sociology Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies Commons, Race and Ethnicity Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons