Desistance as a Signal of Rehabilitation: Understanding Public Perception and the Moderating Role of Redeemability
Term of Award
Master of Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology
Committee Member 1
Caitlyn Brady (Co-Chair)
Committee Member 2
The criminal offender label is enduring and comes with significant real-world consequences. While there is a wealth of literature on offender rehabilitation, less emphasis has been placed on the varying ways that individuals define this concept. The goal of this study is to understand how variations in both punitiveness and rehabilitative definitions affect general beliefs about desistance from crime. Additionally, belief in redeemability is examined as a moderator of this relationship. Using data from an anonymous, national-level, opt-in survey collected through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) platform, I test three hypotheses using logistic regression. Results indicate that while increased punitiveness is not a significant predictor of belief in desistance signals, certain rehabilitative definitions are positively and significantly associated with belief in desistance signals. Redeemability does not moderate this relationship. Individuals are more likely to believe in desistance signals if an offender’s rehabilitation consists of certain actions. Thus, certain rehabilitative acts increase the likelihood of individuals removing the criminal label from former offenders, which holds important policy implications.
Stevens, Jasmyn, "Desistance as a Signal of Rehabilitation: Understanding Public Perception and the Moderating Role of Redeemability" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2604.
Research Data and Supplementary Material