Desistance from and Persistence in Male Offending: The Case of South Korea

Dr Trent Bax1
1Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea

This presentation introduces the first English language criminal career-based study of desistance from crime among male offenders in South Korea. The study used arrest records from 1998 to 2009, with 3,102 criminal careers traced from adolescence into adulthood. Each offender is classified either a ‘desister’ (74.1%), a ‘potential-desister’ (19.2%) or a ‘persister’ (6.7%). The delinquent histories of eighty-three detainees were surveyed to identify the effect home, employment, and/or friendship stability had upon desistance. The study also compares the 6.7% persisters to the ‘chronic 6%’ and ‘severe 5%’ identified by Western-based studies. And in response to Moffitt’s ‘temporary vs. persistent dual taxonomy’ an alternative ‘desistant vs. persistent tripartite taxonomy’ is proposed. Based upon the findings, several policy suggestions rooted in Laub and Sampson’s ‘situated choice’ view of desistance are proffered.


Trent Bax teaches and researchers within area of ‘the sociology of deviance’.

Trent has published work on irregular migrants, the service industry and ‘internet addicts’ in China, and, more recently on bullying, violence, juvenile delinquency and desistance from crime in South Korea.

Trent is the author of ‘Youth and Internet Addiction in China’ (Routledge, 2014) and ‘Bullying and Violence in South Korea: From Home to School and Beyond’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Trent’s current research is on older ex-methamphetamine users in New Zealand.

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