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Criminal Justice


Melanye V. Smith


Armed robbery has affected Nigeria for years and is escalating; in 2019 there were 13,278 cases reported and 15,719 persons arrested. The purpose of this phenomenological study, guided by deterrence theory and anomie theory, was to explore the lived experiences of reformed young adult armed robbers who engaged in crimes from ages 18-25 in Lagos, Nigeria and belonged to street gangs. Data were drawn from a purposeful sample of 10 reformed armed robbers and 10 rehabilitated members of street gangs. Semistructured interviews were used for data collection. The lived experiences offered textual descriptions of the factors that precipitate participation in armed robbery activities. Ricoeur’s hermeneutic approach served as the analysis framework to extract relevant themes such as family background, access to small arms, peer pressure, influence of alcohol and drugs, gang membership, belief in charms, police corruption, ineffective criminal justice system, unafraid of death, and disinterested in armed robbery. Key findings of the study provided evidence that the death penalty does not deter young adults from engaging in armed robbery activities. Findings from the study and its recommendations may contribute to positive social change; government is better informed about measures to reduce crimes, communities are safer, unemployment is reduced in Nigeria, government may adopt new policy initiatives to address the danger posed by armed robbery.

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