At the NextGenForensic blog, Ian McPhail explores the stories of men who desist from sexual offending. He says the stories we tell about ourselves and the world are influential.
Victor Hugo starts his famous novel with the line, “Be it true or false, what is said about men often has as much influence upon their lives, and especially upon their destinies, as what they do.” Hugo’s detective Javert, chases Jean Valjean for the length of Les Misérables because he believes what has been said about Valjean—that he is a criminal—and ignores what Valjean has done in the intervening years. Can a person who commits a crime, like Valjean, become something else through the works of his life? This is a question Hugo poses to us, his past and present reader.
Read more here.
What stories are told about people on sex offender registries? False narratives about how they are likely to commit more crimes? Or the story about how most registered sex offenders do not commit new crimes, despite draconian laws designed to punish them long after they’ve served their sentence?
Read the 2014 UNO Study on Desistance from Sex Offending and the Consequences of Sex Offender Laws.