Reforming Narratives: Is there life after punishment?

Sutherland Trust Autumn Lecture:

Reforming Narratives: Is there life after punishment?’

Presented by Professor Fergus McNeill, Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow.

In recent years, criminologists have become increasingly interested in the processes by which people stop and refrain from offending. One important strand of ‘desistance’ research concerns the sorts of narrative transformations that people experience in becoming ‘ex-offenders’. There is clear evidence that especially for those who have been involved in persistent offending (and who have been persistently punished) positive change involves a ‘re-storying’ of the self. This lecture explores the creative process of re-storying, using songs written about, by and with prisoners as resources and illustrations. It also examines the challenges faced when these new stories are unheard or disbelieved.