Kazemian, Lila (2016). What Are the Most Important Studies of Desistance and What Are the Future Research Needs? In McNeill, Fergus, Ioan Durnescu, and René Butter (Editors), Probation: 12 Essential Questions, pp. 35-59. London: Palgrave Macmillan / Springer.
The association between age and crime is one of the best-established facts in the field of criminology. It is generally agreed that aggregate crime rates peak in late adolescence/early adulthood and gradually drop thereafter, but there remains some debate about the cause of this decline. Information about protective factors that foster or accelerate desistance also informs interventions after the onset of criminal careers. Once onset has occurred, efforts should be invested in limiting the length, intensity and seriousness of criminal careers. Identifying life-course transitions and cognitive factors that contribute to desistance from crime can provide useful information for post-onset interventions. This chapter provides an overview of the most important studies on desistance and underlines future research needs.