Kruttschnitt, Candace, Christopher Uggen, and Kelly Shelton. 2000. “Predictors of Desistance among Sex Offenders: The Interaction of Formal and Informal Social Controls.” Justice Quarterly 17:61-87.




Increasing attention is being drawn to the issue of desistance or cessation in adult criminal careers. We contribute to this research by considering how informal and formal social controls affect recidivism among 556 sex offenders placed on probation in 1992. We conduct an event history analysis of reoffense, based on the predictions of Sampson and Laub’s (1993) and Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) control theories. We build on these perspectives by examining how informal social controls condition the effects of formal social controls generally and across offense types. We find less recidivism among offenders with stable job histories, particularly among those in court-ordered sex offender treatment. The results add to both theoretical formulations concerning desistance and recidivism and to policy formulations directed at rising prison populations.