Relocating our sample
This appendix outlines the characteristics of those people interviewed as part of the original study and the follow-up study. Issues relating to the representativeness of the sample, the attrition rate and the honesty of the responses gathered are accordingly discussed. Some of the processes by which probationers were traced and interviews with them secured are also covered.
In all, some 199 probationers and their supervising officers were recruited into the original sample. The methodology built upon that employed in an earlier study of recidivism among prison inmates who had recently returned to the community (Burnett, 1992, 2000). Probationers aged 17– 35 and who were starting probation or combination orders of six to 24 months' duration between the start of October 1997 and the end of March 1998 were eligible for inclusion in the study (see Farrall, 2002, Chapter 3, for a full outline of the methodology of the original research). The age range of 17–35, it was anticipated, would produce a high number of probationers who were experiencing a number of salient life changes, such as marriage, entry to the labour market and moving away from the parental home, which were expected to be related to whether or not they desisted from further offending. Indeed, this was the case – see Farrall, 2002, Chapter 9. The achieved sample of probationers had the sociodemographic characteristics illustrated in Tables A1–A3.
Table A1: Sample characteristics:
Table A2: Sample characteristics: age