Lila Kazemian is Associate Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. She is a graduate of Universite de Montreal in Canada, and she earned the Ph.D. in criminology at the University of Cambridge. She joined the faculty of John Jay College in 2006 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. She has published on the topics of desistance from crime, life-course and criminal career research, prisoner reentry, and comparative criminology. Her work has been published in Criminology & Public Policy, the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Punishment & Society, the European Journal of Criminology, and the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
The remarkable ability to find hope and meaning in even the bleakest of circumstances is one of humanity's most astonishing gifts. In this eloquent analysis of post-traumatic growth among long-term prisoners, Kazemian explores the role of redemptive narratives in this crucial survival mechanism. Shadd Maruna, author of Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives Lila Kazemian's fascinating book makes a crucial contribution to our fast-developing understanding of desistance and its complex relationship to imprisonment and reintegration. As she recognises, social inequality and punishment exist in a dangerous, unjust and criminogenic symbiosis, yet Kazemian's careful empirical work shows how and why some people in prison nonetheless find a way to develop and grow, even in the context of the profound adversities created both by long-term imprisonment and by challenging post-release environments and experiences. In so doing, this book provides an invaluable resource to students, scholars, practitioners and survivors of criminal justice. Fergus McNeill, Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow Strangely, life course scholars have paid little attention to the life course of people living in prison. Now, with this brilliant volume that honors the humanity of its subjects, Lila Kazemian fills this gap in desistance literature. By showing that people can thrive and grow while living in horrific conditions, this wise and rigorous book is simultaneously a tribute to the power of the human spirit and an indictment of penal institutions. By her example, Kazemian invites scholars to bring their skills, theories and voices to join her in shining a spotlight into the black box of prisons. Advocates, researchers, journalists and anyone concerned about human rights should follow her lead. Jeremy Travis, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures; President Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice