After decades of relative obscurity, research on desistance from offending has experienced an exponential, and much warranted, escalation in attention. This precipitous growth is motivated by the timely alignment of theory, data, and method that characterized the opening of the twenty-first century. Despite the growth of the field, fundamental questions remain. This chapter provides a focused review of key twenty-first-century theoretical and methodological developments on desistance as well as a pointed discussion of critical issues. After outlining the current definitions and longitudinal trends of desistance, we discuss contemporary theories and the studies that inform these theories. We use an organizational schema situating theories in terms of the primacy with which they place structural opportunities or subjective motivations in their explanations of the transition away from offending. We conclude by presenting avenues for advancing research in the areas of definitions, theoretical testing, and bridging the research-policy divide.


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