SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: This study addresses the link between gang membership and arrest frequency, exploring the Gang × Socioeconomic status interaction on those arrests. Notoriously poor, delinquent, and often well-known to police, America’s gang youth should have very high odds of arrest. Yet it is unclear whether mere membership in a gang increases the risk of arrest or whether it must be accompanied by high levels of delinquency to have an effect. There are surprisingly few tests of the arrest risk associated solely with group membership. The several studies that provide such a test have yielded mixed results. Revisiting this issue with longitudinal youth data for the nation, random effects Poisson models find main effects for gang membership and SES on arrest, controlling for demographic and legal items. However, interaction effects obtain paradoxical findings consistent with research on “out-of-place” effects for high-SES gang youth, and protective effects for low-SES gang youth. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for labeling theory and the federal initiative on disproportionate minority contact (DMC) with the juvenile justice system.
Abstract: Some adolescents are attracted to hedonistic activities because of their active sociability and negative school experiences. This study examines the effects of these two variables in comparison with variables from labeling theory and control theory. Results show that active sociability is a strong predictor of delinquent behavior for African American and White teenagers. Negative school experience predicts delinquency only among Whites. Labeling and control theories receive tepid support.