The Gangfighters Network is an organization designed to bridge the gap between academia and the criminal justice professions. For more information, visit and The focus is on gangs, initially adult gangs as it appears they have been ignored or absorbed into the mainstream society. There's a special focus on gang members in the military.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gangs in Child Welfare

On Friday, I will be in a satellite and internet broadcast panel discussion hosted by the Tennessee Center for Child Welfare (TCCW). The panel will be addressing “Gangs in Child Welfare” on May 18, 2012. Available at the TCCW web site -

Overview and History of Gangs
Carter Smith
Ben Austin
Meaning/Defining gangs
Street gangs mentioned by Chaucer (1390) and Shakespeare (1602)
little known of the members
Generally accepted criteria for identifying groups as gangs:     
Three or more members.    
Members share group identity and other symbols.    
Members view themselves as a gang, and they are recognized by others as a gang.   
Permanence and organization.    
Criminal activity.
Gang Formation
Individual needs
physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem
Individual responses
To pressure/Strain
Community needs
Community responses
Support/Conceal crime
Hire/direct Law Enforcement
Economic association
Traditional gang organization not unlike traditional business organization
Fills a void
Serves community
Depended upon
Gangs engage in legitimate business activity.
Startup funding from ill-gotten gains
Often use legitimate business to launder money
Nonetheless, gang businesses serve community

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