The disproportionate contribution street gang members make to the crime rate is, no doubt, an empirically robust proposition.
Numerous studies have concluded that associating with street gangs is an additional risk factor to that of frequenting delinquent peers, which is among the strongest predictors of criminal behaviour along with criminal history and antisocial personality traits. And yet, the specific contribution of street gang association to explaining delinquent or criminal behaviour is largely unknown. The variables most commonly cited to explain this phenomenon include the concept of adherence to gang culture, which, however, has never been specifically operationalized.
The contribution of street gang association to explaining delinquent or criminal behaviour is largely unknown.
The aim of this thesis is to study the contribution of an offender’s adherence to street gang culture to explaining criminal behaviour. More precisely, it seeks to define the street gang culture, to operationalize adherence to the street gang culture, to examine the consistency of the Measure of Adherence to the Gang Culture (MACg), and to study its relationship to the nature, variety and frequency of criminal behaviour of offenders under the responsibility of Québec’s youth centres and correctional services. Three scientific articles were used to demonstrate the findings of this thesis.
Despite its limitations, this thesis will contribute significantly to the development of the basis of a new explanatory model for the influence of street gang association on criminal behaviour. The Measure of Adherence to the Gang Culture (MACg) could also be used to evaluate the risk of male offenders who are under the responsibility of the criminal justice system and to improve the quality of the interventions available to them.
Chantal Fredette, Université de Montréal
Deposit of the thesis: May 2015