A Framework Model of Black Masculinities and Desistance

  • Martin Glynn
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


In this chapter, I present a ‘framework model of black masculinities and desistance’, which is informed by the results and findings of my doctoral study (Glynn 2013), combined with on-going field work in relation to incarcerated black men.Throughout this chapter, I use the term ‘black’ to refer to individuals of African descent who are living in the UK. Desistance is increasingly conceptualised as a theoretical construct which is used to explain how offenders orient themselves away from committing crimes. Previous studies suggest that successful desistance occurs due to one or a number of factors. These factors include things such as faith (Giordano et al. 2007), gender (Giordano et al. 2002), psychosocial processes (Healy 2010), a rite of passage (Maruna 2010), personal and social circumstances which are space and place specific (Flynn 2010), moral rehabilitation (McNeill 2012), turning points (Carlsson 2012), ethnicity and faith (Calverley 2013), relationality (Weaver 2013), and race and racialisation (Glynn 2014). The absence of critical perspectives on race and racialisation when theorising about desistance is problematic for a number of reasons. To address this issue, Russell (2002) has previously called for the development of ‘black criminology’, while Phillips and Bowling (2003) argue for ‘minority perspectives’ within in so-called mainstream criminology. Glynn (2017) further states that race and racialisation of the criminal justice system (CJS) invariably impacts on the desistance aspirations of black offenders on both personal and structural levels and calls for a move towards a ‘critical race criminology’ (CRC) as a possible way forward. The framework that is outlined in this chapter asserts that successful desistance for black men is bound up in navigating a range of masculine transitions within the context of differential racialisation that operates within the wider CJS. Bell (1995) sees differential racialisation as the way the dominant society racialises different groups, in different ways and in different times, in relation to structures such as the CJS. I argue in this chapter that these masculine transitions are situated and contextualised within the worldviews of black men that are shaped by the negative experiences they have faced within the CJS as a whole (Alexander 2010). The findings of my study also reveal how these same black men understand the CJS treats them less fairly (Glynn 2013).


Masculinities Desistance Racialisation Urban Faith Transitions 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Glynn
    • 1
  1. 1.Birmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK

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