This study qualitatively explored how young adult men on probation or parole view the components of psychosocial maturation that contribute to criminal desistance. The authors conducted nine focus groups with 40 men on probation or parole, including seven groups with men aged 18 to 25 years. Two additional focus groups were conducted with older men (ages 29-60 years) to refine our evolving understanding. According to the participants, psychosocial maturation processes of personal growth, learning from mistakes, considering consequences before acting, developing and executing long-range plans, improving peer associations, and recognizing and responding to a motivating event all contributed to their desire to change their course of criminal offending. These components map well onto existing theories of psychosocial maturation and criminal desistance and lend further insight into how young adult men perceive the psychological, emotional, and cognitive factors that can support their desistance goals.
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