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Jessica Hart


Recidivism is a major social problem, as is gang membership. Gang membership has been shown to increase the risk of recidivism; however, there is a gap in the literature as to how gang-membership influences reentry experiences. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of gang affiliated reentry individuals with reentry service providers. This study examined how a gang affiliated identity shape reentry individuals' interactions with reentry organizations. An interpretative phenomenological analysis design was employed in this study. In-person, semistructured interviews were conducted with 5 participants who met inclusion criteria to facilitate an understanding of this population's reentry services. Analysis of the data resulted in 3 themes: negative experiences in relation to interactions with others based on gang identity, influence of gang identity on reentry location, and appreciation of support received despite gang affiliation. The findings were then compared with current literature and the tenant of intersectionality as well as ecological systems theory to begin to develop implications for social change. Reentry service providers can use the findings of the study to develop interventions that address the pressures of gang membership on reentry, examine the impact of location on reentry, and develop ways to deliver services in a nonjudgmental and supportive way. Additionally, the results of this study set a foundation from which future research can further explore the reentry experiences of gang affiliated individuals both in more focused qualitative studies and broader quantitative studies as well as how a gang identity impacts recidivism.

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