Indicators of Criminal Justification or Repentance in a Qualitative Analysis of Inmates Autobiographical Criminal Self–Narratives

Alba Company-Fernández, Pilar Tarancón, Ana Rita Cruz, James W. Griffith, Jorge J. Ricarte*, Tom Barry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the narrative contents obtained from the description of autobiographical memories reported by a sample of incarcerated males that exemplified their most aggressive, transgressive, or criminal selves. Participants were 110 men serving a prison sentence for different types of crimes. Three main phenomena were identified from their stories: the narration of the criminal self, description of the crime (or crimes) committed, and the criminal responsibility attributional processes. The results showed the existence of mechanisms to justify the crime among a large section of participants, whereas the assumption of personal responsibility for the commission of the crime and the consideration of an unfair or excessive sentence were not as frequent. Also, some specific crimes concurred with concrete responsibility attributional processes, especially with the justification of criminal behavior. These findings generate useful information regarding recidivism, resocialization, and the attribution of responsibility among inmates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • crime
  • desisting
  • inmates
  • narrative
  • responsibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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