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NCJ Number: 168063 Find in a Library
Title: Street Gang in Fact
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:(Spring 1997)  Pages:37-38
Author(s): F Parra
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 2
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Retrospective interviews with key informants show that in a Chicano youth gang (n=39) active in the 1960's, 84 percent had been incarcerated at least once, and 76 percent had either dropped out of high school or had been terminated during this period; possible explanations for these behaviors are offered in this paper.
Abstract: The focus of this study was a gang named the Midgets, which is located in Happy Valley, a Chicano community in northeast Los Angeles County. As a barrio (neighborhood) it has a long history and is recognized by its residents as one of stability and credibility. In its prime the Midgets had 39 members. Most members were in their mid-teens, but the clique ranged in age from 15 to 21. Today, most are in their late forties or early fifties. In retrospective interviews with key informants, they reflected upon their pasts, reported on the present, and speculated about the future. Of the 39 men, some 8 in 10 had been jailed at least once during their teen years. Twenty-nine of the original 39 Midgets either dropped out of high school or were expelled. Of these, two remained illiterate into adulthood. Although it is tempting to use psychodynamic, or lack-of-values explanations for the high rate of incarceration and school withdrawal, these explanations are apparently invalid, given the high percentage of youth who had been incarcerated and dropped out of school. Social conditions and economic conditions most likely produced the behaviors identified. Socioeconomic hard times coupled with historical racism fall much harder on Chicano youth and their families. 6 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): California; Hispanic Americans; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile gang behavior patterns
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