David Pyrooz Talk

Wed, 05/03/2017

Date: May 3, 2017

Time: 2:00-3:30pm

Location: Soc Eco II, Room 2372


TITLE: Prison, Gangs, and the “final frontier”: Initial Findings from the LoneStar Project


Gangs occupy a central place in the social order of prisons. Yet, basic research on gang activity in prisons is exceptionally rare, which is part of the reason prison has been described as the “final frontier” in gang research. Explanations for this gulf of knowledge center on limited access to conduct research in prison facilities and the secrecy of gangs and unwillingness of gang members to participate in survey research. This presentation reports on three related streams of findings from the LoneStar Project, the Study of Trajectories, Associations, and Reentry in Texas, an ongoing National Institute of Justice funded study focused on prison, gangs, and reentry. Baseline interviews were conducted with 802 inmates—half of whom were classified as gang members—about to leave prison and two follow-up interviews 30 days and 9 months post-release. First, can gang members be surveyed in prisons with fidelity? Survey methodology differences are compared between gang and non-gang inmates. Second, are self-reports of gang membership valid? A multi-trait, multi-method matrix is constructed to examine the convergent and discriminant validity of self- and official reports of gang membership. Third, what are the consequences of discordance between self- and official reports of gang membership? The consequences of mislabeling an inmate—false positives and false negatives—are not well understood despite the enormous implications for misconduct, victimization, risk assessment, housing, and programming.

David C. Pyrooz is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate of Problem Behavior and Positive Youth Development at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder.  He received his BS and MS in Criminology from California State University, Fresno and Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. His research interests are in the areas of gangs and criminal networks, incarceration and reentry, developmental and life course criminology, and criminal justice policy and practice.  He is the co-author of Confronting Gangs: Crime and Community (Oxford), the co-editor of The Wiley Handbook of Gangs (Wiley-Blackwell), and the author of an NIJ white paper on the relationship between gang affiliation and restrictive housing in U.S. prisons.

Please RSVP by April 25, 2017.