“Nevertheless, he desisted:” The strategies that men use to stop sexually offending

This presentation explores the strategies that men who have been convicted of sexual offenses use to pursue, achieve, and maintain offense-free lives upon release. It draws on a recent study in which “desistance scripts” were extracted from the life stories of 74 North American men who returned to the community after being incarcerated for at least one serious sexual crime. It will examine and critique the premise, the promise, and the unintended consequences of various pieces of memorial legislation that have flourished in recent years in the US. The impact of policies and initiatives such as community registration and notification, residence restrictions, electronic monitoring, and the rapid (and unregulated) growth of risk assessment have been far-reaching. They have wildly increased the number of people under correctional supervision, stretched already limited resources beyond reason, and further devastated an already disenfranchised population. The implications of these trends will be discussed within the context of our local jurisdiction.

Danielle Harris

Griffith Youth Forensic Service
Deputy Director of Research

Danielle Arlanda Harris is the Deputy Director-Research of the Griffith Youth Forensic Service and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. She has published more than 25 articles and book chapters and has given over 50 presentations at international conferences. Her research examines sexual aggression through a life course perspective, examining onset, specialization/versatility, desistance, and related public policy. Her study of civilly committed sex offenders in Massachusetts was funded by the Guggenheim Foundation and she recently received a grant from the California Sex Offender Management Board for a state-wide survey of community supervision practices. Her first book—which draws on the narratives of 74 men convicted of sexual offenses and released from custody—was released in December.