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Title: Life after life imprisonment
Author: Appleton, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0000 4810 8628
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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In England and Wales, life imprisonment is the ultimate sanction for the most serious crimes. The introduction of Discretionary Lifer Panels (DLPs) in 1992 was a major development in the way that lifers are managed within the penal system. This thesis explores 'life after life imprisonment' for the first cohort of discretionary lifers who were released into the community through the DLP process. The study is set in the context of a renewed interest in empirical research on the resettlement of ex-prisoners, yet little of this work has focused on life-sentenced offenders. By investigating the resettlement process of 138 discretionary lifers released on life licence between 1992 and 1997, this research contributes to empirical and theoretical understanding of rehabilitation and desistance from crime after long-term imprisonment. Part One considers the various factors that have shaped the discretionary life sentence, and sets out the research methods used. Part Two examines the role of the Probation Service in the process of resettlement. Based on empirical work across probation areas, it sheds light on the claim that contemporary probation practice is indicative of a more general authoritarian and exclusionary approach to resettlement. Part Three explores the 'disistance and persistance' process for lifers. It provides a detailed analysis of the narrative accounts of resettled lifers, and explores the reasons why they had given up crime. It also highlights the growing numbers of recalled lifers, and seeks to identify factors associated with failure on life licence. This thesis concludes by arguing that rehabilitation continues to have a prominent place within the discourse of resettlement. Overall, this thesis lends support to theories of disistance from crime that emphasise the importance of shifts in offenders' narrative identities to explain cessation from criminal behaviour, and highlights the role of a professional relationship as a powerful vehicle for change.
Supervisor: Ashworth, Andrew ; Burnett, Ros Sponsor: Home Office ; Christ Church College ; Faculty of Law, University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Law ; life imprisonment ; probation service ; desistance from crime ; resettlement ; identity change