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Desistance and Steps We Can Take to Foster it

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Rehabilitation. We hear it most often when talking about a justice involved individual who has been freshly released from prison. It's a buzzword that represents a threshold to be reached before your everyday citizen is able to accept that formerly justice involved individual back into society.

However, a word that might better capture the goal of incarceration is desistance. Desistance is defined by Anthony Baxter in their 2006 book From Prisoner to Phd: Reflections on My Pathway to Desistance from Crime and Addiction.

"...primary desistance describes a halt in the commission of criminal behavior, secondary desistance describes a permanent leaving off criminal behavior due to dis-identification with the criminal role."

This is important for us because the work performed by FRC provides workplace readiness skills to further that secondary desistance and help those who recently left incarceration to see themselves as a different person than when they went in. A different person with new options available to them for earning a living and building a life back up.


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