Making sense of going straight: Personal accounts of male Ex-Prisoners in Hong Kong

Michael Adorjan, Wing Hong Chui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


While most research on desistance targets Western contexts, we offer a point of comparison through an examination of the experiences of a selected group of male ex-offenders upon their discharge from prison in Hong Kong. To achieve this aim, this qualitative study gives a detailed account of Hong Kong ex-prisoners' accounts of desistance. Semi-structured interviews focusing on prisoner re-entry were conducted with 23 Hong Kong Chinese ex-prisoners. Particularly salient themes to explain the process of going straight in Hong Kong were the importance of social support and family, as well as religion. Ex-prisoners were particularly critical of the rehabilitative efficacy of Hong Kong's prisons as well as post-supervision programmes. These criticisms were related to concerns regarding Hong Kong's competitive and materialistic culture delimiting efforts to desist from crime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-590
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • desistance
  • going straight
  • Hong Kong
  • narratives
  • social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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