Youth Gangs Push and Pull Factors

Topics: Gang, Crime, Criminology Pages: 5 (1883 words) Published: August 27, 2013
Youth Gangs Push and Pull Factors

Arjun Sharma
Friday, November 23, 2012
Ms. Fulton

Youth Gangs Push and Pull factors in America

What influences youth to join and leave gangs in America? This essay strives to seek and inquire an answer or explanation to this question. I will try to approach the answer to this question by analyzing the biggest factors of it such as the influence of social institutions, psychological behaviour, media and many more to determine the push and pull factors of a gang. Understanding that the dynamics of gang membership can be separated into formation & joining which will allow theories & methods of gang-related research to be refined. My first scholarly source “Understanding Youth Street Gangs” (Cliff A., 2012) argues that factors driving gang formation, social-environmental factors, & social disorganization are caused at young ages. My second scholarly source “Motives and Methods for leaving the gang: Understanding the process of gang desistance” (Pyrooz D.C, 2011) explains the motives for leaving a gang, organized into factors internal (push) and external (pull), while methods for leaving the gang are organized into hostile and non-hostile factors. Furthermore, my third scholarly source “Gang membership: Gang formations and gang joining” (Cureton S. R., 1999) provides information of teen’s psychological behavior to join a gang and which advantages they get for joining a gang. My fourth scholarly journal “Studying Youth Gangs: Alternative Methods and Conclusions” (Lorine H., 2005) explains how the major methods that have been used to study youth gangs and what forces them to stay in the gang.. Lastly, my fifth scholarly "Gang-Related Gun Violence: Socialization, Identity, and Self" (Paul Stretesky,2007) source summarizes that gangs are important agents of socialization that help shape a gang member’s sense of self and identity This essay will answer my research question through the use of conflict theory because from a sociological standpoint of subculture theory which best explains the rise of gangs in American society. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Department of Justice, youth gang violence is a nationwide problem.1 Youth gangs have been identified in every single state.1 The United States has approximately 24,500 gangs with a membership of more than 750,000. The ethnic composition of these gangs is 47% Latino, 31% African American, 13% white, 7% Asian, and 2% mixed ethnicities. Push motives and non-hostile methods were the model response for leaving the gang. While it was not uncommon to experience a hostile departure from the gang, most former gang members reported walking away without any violence or ceremony. This method was conditional on their leave, however. None of the individuals leaving the gang for pull or external reasons experienced a hostile departure. While gang ties lasted regardless of motive or method, retaining such ties corresponded with serious consequences. The understanding of gang members, gangs, and the behavior of their members can benefit from subculture theory as it examines explanations for why adolescents join gangs. Younger offenders are more likely to occupy groups, and they are less entrenched in their ways and less likely to benefit from the gradual benefits of stable relationships and employment. But juveniles and younger offenders— the age of most gang members—rarely benefit from these more gradual life-course corrections, as they typically are below the modal age at which Americans marry, and many of them are not eligible to work being below the age of sixteen. Thus it would not be surprising if more sudden departures from lives of crime and gang involvement characterize younger individuals who desist from crime. General consensus also exists concerning the most common social characteristics among gang members, as perceived by law enforcement. Of the roughly 500,000 estimated gang...

Bibliography: 1. Cliff Akiyama (2012). Understanding Youth Street Gangs. Emergency Department Nurses Association, 38(6), 568.
2. Pyrooz, D. C., & Decker, S. H. (2011). Motives and methods for leaving the gang: Understanding the process of gang desistance. Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(5), 417-425.
3. Lorine Hughes (2005). Studying Youth Gangs: Alternative Methods and Conclusions. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 21(2), 98-119. 
4. Cureton, S. R. (1999). Gang membership: Gang formations and gang joining. Journal of Gang Research, 7(1), 13-21.
5. Paul Stretesky, Mark Pogrebin (2007). Gang-Related Gun Violence: Socialization, Identity, and Self. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 36 (1), 85-114. 
6. Katz, C. M., Webb, V. J., & Decker, S. H. (2005). Using the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program to further understand the relationship between drug use and gang membership. Justice Quarterly, 22, 58–88.
7. Giordano, P. C., Cernkovich, S. A., & Holland, D. D. (2003). Changes in friendship relations over the life course: Implications for desistance from crime. Criminology, 41, 293–327.
8. Sanchez-Jankowski, M. (1991). Islands in the street: Gangs and American urban society. Berkeley: University of California Press.
9. Winfree, L. T., Jr., Full, K., Vigil, T., & Mays, G. L. (1992). The definition and measurement of ‘gang status:’ Policy implications for juvenile justice. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 43, 29–37
10. Esbensen, F. -A., Winfree, L. T., Jr., He, N., & Taylor, T. J. (2001). Youth gangs and definitional issues: When is a gang a gang and why does it matter? Crime and Delinquency, 47, 105–130.
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