Allegiance to gang culture: The role of ethnic identity among young offenders in the Montreal area
*Bériault M, Laurier C, Guay J-P. (2017). Allegiance to gang culture: The role of ethnic identity among young offenders in the Montreal area. Criminologie. 50(1): 287-310.
The increased presence of ethnic minorities in youth centers in Quebec raises complex and difficult questions. This study explores the effect of ethnic identity and being part of a racialized minority group on offenders’ self-reported gang association and allegiance to gang culture. Participants (n = 69 ; age 14-20 years) were recruited from youth rehabilitation centers in the Montreal area. The results suggest that there was no difference between young offenders from racialized minorities and those who were not in terms of association with gangs. Regression analysis indicates that the more a young offender reports an interest in exploring his own ethnic identity, the more commitment he shows to the signs and symbols as well as the rules and rituals aspects of gang culture, regardless of age or racial status. This study highlights the importance of focusing on the question of identity during interventions with young offenders, regardless of their origins.