Megan Kang (Princeton University)
16 March 2023 @ 14:00 - 15:15
- Past event
Still Trapped In: Gang Disengagement Amidst Changing Gang Landscapes
Abstact. This study draws on 95 interviews with current and former gang members to examine how recent changes in gang structures have altered the process of leaving a gang and desisting from crime. The erosion of group closure within Chicago’s gangs has made it easier to leave one’s group, but in doing so, has made it harder for individuals to signal their decision to exit to potential threats and increased uncertainty of attacks from rivals. Additionally, blurry boundaries among gangs have made it harder for individuals to access traditional turning points to create a new identity. Those attempting to disengage in today’s gang landscape often resort to protective strategies that send mixed signals to potential adversaries and allies, leaving them trapped between “street” and “decent” worlds. Ultimately, this research sheds light on the complex challenges faced by those trying to desist from crime and highlights the need for an updated understanding of gang structures and their impact on these processes.