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Values in criminology and community justice$
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Malcolm Cowburn, Marian Duggan, Anne Robinson, and Paul Senior

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447300359

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447300359.001.0001

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A moral in the story? Virtues, values and desistance from crime

A moral in the story? Virtues, values and desistance from crime

Chapter:
(p.147) Nine A moral in the story? Virtues, values and desistance from crime
Source:
Values in criminology and community justice
Author(s):

Fergus McNeill

Stephen Farrall

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447300359.003.0009

This chapter draws on theories and research concerning desistance to argue that ceasing to offend is a process that involves the development of the motivation, capacity and opportunities to live well, in both a moral and a prudential sense. Supporting people to desist from crime is likely to require forms and styles of penal practice that model ways of being and becoming ‘good’. Central to such practice are questions of the legitimacy of criminal justice processes and of the moral performance of practitioners. The discussion therefore contributes to policy and practice debates about how best to configure and deliver key penal institutions and practices, particularly those associated with sentencing and sanctioning. However, since those institutions and practices inevitably reflect and refract their social, political and cultural contexts, supporting the acquisition of virtues in the process of desistance necessitates inquiry about the values, virtues and vices of society itself.

Keywords:   Desistance, Penal practice, Moral performance, Becoming good, Values, Aristotle

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