Reintegration of Gang Members
Community Integration of Gang Members in the Bay Area: Understanding Gaps in Policy and Social Interventions
The state of California is home to one third of the nation’s gang members, or approximately 236,200 members (according to the California Department of Justice). Youth from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds, in search of an identity, are highly susceptible to the influence of gangs; membership in which provides them with both a status and a sense of belonging. This problem is compounded by the arrival of immigrants who are searching for their own place in an unfamiliar social and cultural environment. In addition to their search for identity, gang members and those contemplating to join gangs come from communities that are highly discriminated and deprived. Structural imbalances in society gives them very few options for positively changing their lives. In the Bay Area, gang violence and membership has been on the rise in recent years, but the programs which reach out to gang members and attempt to integrate them into communities remain limited and ineffective. Using a conflict resolution framework together with empirical research conducted within the Bay Area, this research will highlight the nature and magnitude of gang dynamics within a community. Further it will analyze the responses of various organizations and agencies, such as law enforcement, non-profits, and locally-based programs, and examine the impact of state and federal policies on community integration of gang members.
Research Coordinator: Pushpa Iyer
Researchers: Christopher Hobgood, Emily McLaughlin, Christopher McNaboe, Kyrstie Lane
Expected date for Working Paper Publication: December 2011