Getting Out of Crime and Violence
The trajectories of crime and drug behaviors for the women reflected a shift in their social and economic relations. There were several processes that sustained and reinforced the changed behaviors on the part of those who decided to quit. For some, simple changes in physical location and social networks precipitated desistance. For others, transformations of identity and the formation of ties to conventional lifestyles aided them in easing out of the life. This chapter explores some of these factors with this subsample of women. It illustrates the uncertainty and vulnerability of street life. Marginalization from family, friends, children, legal work—the loss of traditional life structures—left women feeling hypervulnerable to chaotic street conditions. Drawing on their accounts as well as on common themes in the literature on exiting or "quitting" deviant careers, the chapter presents a model for understanding desistance from crime.