A new book by Dr Danielle Harris from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice describes how men who have committed serious sexual offenses come to stop offending and end their ‘criminal career’.
Desistance from Sexual Offending: Narratives of Retirement, Regulation and Recovery will be launched at South Bank campus on Thursday, August 23.
The book describes the complex process of desistance from sexual crime as told by 74 men incarcerated for sexual offenses and released back into the community.
Unlike much of the research on this topic, Dr Harris places strong emphasis on how men who have committed serious sexual offenses come to stop offending and end their ‘criminal career’.
“The book includes interviews with men in Massachusetts and Maine. But, while writing the book I also spoke with men in California and Florida, as well as treatment providers and law enforcement personnel in several jurisdictions,’’ she said.
The book is the product of three years of interviews, as well as 20 years of experience working with men in Australia and England, and a long time collaborating with people from all over the world.
“Quite simply, there is more that unites us than divides us,’’ she says.
“The specific legislation to which my participants are subject is exceptional in many ways, but their stories are not uniquely American. The experience of custody, and of community release after a long sentence are universal.
“The challenges they face are universal – the stigma they bear, the straining and breaking of family ties, the difficulty of finding a job, or a safe and affordable place to sleep.
“Two hundred years of criminology tells us that desistance is a natural human process, and that most people who commit crimes come to stop engaging in those behaviours.
“This finding is consistent across time and space. People can do terrible things and then stop doing those things. People can do terrible things and not be terrible people forever.”
Dr Harris is the Deputy Director (Research) of the Griffith Youth Forensic Service and a lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has published more than 30 articles and book chapters and have given over 50 presentations at international conferences. Her research examines sexual aggression through a life course perspective, examining oneset, specialisation/versatility, desistance and related public policy.
WHEN: Thursday, August 23, 5.30pm-7pm
WHERE: QCA Lecture Theatre, South Bank, Brisbane
Media Contact: Deborah Marshall 0413 156 601