Catastrophic Turn

  • Mark Halsey
  • Simone Deegan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


This chapter is based on the lives of Sam, James and Chris. Each shares the inability to get any meaningful purchase in the struggle to desist. All aged in their mid-twenties, they have amassed well over 10,000 custodial days between them (nearly 30 years spent incarcerated). Chris’s and Sam’s offending trajectories have seen them over the years progress steadily in terms of the frequency and seriousness of criminal activity. The offences for which they are currently incarcerated made headline news and caused untold trauma to their victims. James, on the other hand, has struggled with more or less the same types of crime for much of his life. But the offences for which he is currently serving time are of a demonstrably more serious type. These too brought him substantial public notoriety. In an effort to do ‘justice’ to the complexity of issues revealed during successive interviews with the young men, their stories are told in significant depth (more so than previous chapters). We believe these stories — the catastrophic nature of them — speak not just to the many problems besetting the juvenile and criminal justice systems, but also the social and cultural climates to which people return when released from custody.


Young Offender Youth Worker Successive Interview Cold Turkey Drug Court Program 
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Copyright information

© Mark Halsey and Simone Deegan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Halsey
    • 1
  • Simone Deegan
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Crime Policy and ResearchFlinders UniversityAustralia
  2. 2.Flinders UniversityAustralia

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