Can hardened criminals really reform? Making Good provides resounding proof that the answer is yes. This book provides a fascinating narrative analysis of the lives of repeat offenders who, by all statistical measures, should have continued on the criminal path but instead have created lives of productivity and purpose. This examination of the phenomenology of "making good" includes an encyclopedic review of the literature on personal reform as well as a practical guide to the use of narratives in offender counseling and rehabilitation.

The author's research shows that criminals who desist from crime have constructed powerful narratives that aided them in making sense of their pasts, finding fulfillment in productive behaviors, and feeling in control of their future. Borrowing from the field of narrative psychology, Maruna argues that to truly understand offenders, we must understand the stories that they tell—and that in turn this story-making process has the capacity to transform lives. Making Good challenges some of the cherished assumptions of various therapy models for offenders and supports new paradigms for offender rehabilitation. This groundbreaking book is a must read for criminologists, forensic psychologists, lawyers, rehabilitation counselors, or anyone interested in the generative process of change.

Table of Contents



Introduction: The Common Criminal and Us

I. Dissecting Desistance

  1. Defining Desistance
  2. The Liverpool Desistance Study

II. Two Views of a Brick Wall

  1. Sample Prognosis: Dire
  2. Reading From a Condemnation Script
  3. Making Good: The Rhetoric of Redemption

III. Applied Mythology

  1. 6.Work, Generativity and Reform
  2. Mea Culpa: Shame, Blame and the Core Self
  3. The Rituals of Redemption



Author Index

Subject Index

About the Author

Reviews & Awards

Winner, American Society of Criminology Michael J. Hindelang Award for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Research in Criminology, 2001