The discovering desistance project team (Fergus McNeill, Shadd Maruna, Stephen Farrall and Claire Lightowler) met in Belfast on Monday to start thinking about the project and specifically explore ideas for the production of a film about how and why people desist from offending.
Central to our discussion on Monday was the notion of desistance as a journey and how the film could mirror this journey. Whilst in Belfast we met with the film company who will be working with us to make this happen. Under their guidance it became clear that the film should be based on someone’s desistance journey, and that it would work well if this person was the narrator of the film, thus leading the discovery journey as well.
We identified that by exploring their own desistance journey, our narrator could ask wider questions about the desistance process, and explore what the evidence and other people can tell us about desistance. As a result the plan is for the film to include a range of intereviews with people with different experiences and perspectives on the desistance process (so for instance, people who have and have not desisted from offending, families of those who have offended, professionals who support desistance and academics who research these issues). We are now working through more detailed plans for the film, which will be explored in our film steering group meeting, which includes a wider range of stakeholders, and which will meet in a couple of weeks.
We are very excited about the potential for this film as a mechanism for exploring and sharing knowledge and insights about desistance, and importantly for raising areas for discussion at the next stage of the project – which will be a series of workshops where people will work through some of the issues explored in the film. But more of that later…