THE PATH AND PROMISE OF FATHERHOOD FOR GANG MEMBERS

Br J Criminol. 2009;49(3):305-325. doi: 10.1093/bjc/azp003.

Abstract

While an increase in research on criminal desistance has occurred in recent years, little research has been applied to the gang field. Using qualitative interview data, this article examines fatherhood as a potential turning point in the lives of 91 gang members in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fatherhood initiated important subjective and affective transformations that led to changes in outlook, priorities and future orientation. However, these subjective changes were not sufficient unless accompanied by two additional features: first, changes in the amount of time spent on the streets and, second, an ability to support oneself or one's family with legal income. Though fatherhood is no panacea, becoming a father did act as an important turning point toward desistance and motivator for change for some.