Giving Up Crime: Directions for Policy

Published: 2007

McNeill F. and Weaver B., (2007), Giving up crime: directions for policy, SCCCJ Online


This briefing paper explores the implications for criminal justice policy in Scotland of desistance research – that is, research about the endings of criminal careers. Given the political consensus about the central importance of reducing reoffending,1 we pay particular heed to questions around how and why reoffenders come to cease and refrain from offending. To the extent that any policy maker or practitioner (or indeed any society) sees reducing reoffending as a priority, she or he ought to be particularly interested in desistance research because this research explores and explains the very process that the justice system exists to sponsor and to support. In outlining the eight principles listed above, we have already provided our conclusion. What follows therefore is a review of just some of the studies from Scotland, the UK and further afield that provide the evidence base for these important principles.