Publication Title

Journal of Crime and Justice

Document Type


Department or Program


Publication Date



criminological theory, Identity, prison misconduct, self


Identity or self-concept has long been theorized to explain rule-violating behavior. Life-course criminology scholarship has incorporated identity as a core concept explaining desistance or disengagement from crime over time. Individuals who transform their identities from anti to prosocial or who are ready to move away from their past selves are more likely to desist from crime. However, the role of identity, particularly the forms of identity that have been theorized to influence desistance, has been understudied with respect to prison behavior. Understanding the ways in which identity relates to prison misconduct may help inform prison programming as well as theoretical perspectives drawing on the concept. The purpose of this study is to explore how various forms of identity are related to future prison misconduct, controlling for past misconduct and a host of other theoretical variables, in Minnesota prisons. The results indicate that two forms of identity, replacement self and cognitive transformation, are related to general misconduct but not violent misconduct in survival models. For general misconduct, both forms of identity are associated with a reduction in the risk of new convictions. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Required Publisher's Statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of Crime & Justice on March 21, 2023, available at:

Available for download on Sunday, September 21, 2025