New journal has been published by Janika Lindström, Teemu Rantanen, and Timo Toikko.
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This study focuses on the narratives of participants of a long-term expert-by-experience training programme for people with a history of crime about their past, and how they use their life experience in their work as experts by experience. The research data was collected during interviews of respondents with a history of crime (N=19). The interviews were analysed using a narrative identity framework, and the data further examined in light of various studies focused on a desistance from crime.


The transformation process from service user or client to expert by experience provided people with a history of crime with a chance to come to terms with their past, and to and gain a sense of closure. Expertise by experience gave their difficult life experiences a new meaning, and thus promoted their overall rehabilitation and offered them opportunities through which they could gain the appreciation and acceptance of other people. The new relationships presented to them as experts by experience also paved the way to a new kind of self-concept that strengthened the desister’s self-confidence and optimistic outlook on the future.


This study offers perspectives on how people with a history of crime can re-enter society. Through their survival stories and their journey to become experts by experience, desisters can earn the acceptance and approval of others and gain a more positive perception of themselves. The new identities of people with a history of crime are dependent on society’s approval as they continue to desist from crime and re-enter mainstream society.


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