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Contribution to Book
Leaving the Gang: A Review and Thoughts on Future Research
The Handbook of Gangs (2015)
  • Dena C Carson
  • J. Michael Vecchio, Loyola University Chicago
Researchers have examined aspects of gangs and their members for almost a century. This work, however, focuses primarily on youth prior to joining as well as during gang involvement. While comparatively less is known about the leaving processes, work in this area has been increasing in recent years. This chapter will discuss the growing body of research on the processes associated with leaving the gang. Specifically, it will review difficulties associated with defining gang desistance, theoretical perspectives on desistance, variations in motives, methods, and consequences of leaving, barriers to desistance, as well as make recommendations for policy and future research.
  • youth gangs,
  • gang leaving,
  • desistance,
  • disengagement,
  • life-course theory
Publication Date
Fall September, 2015
Scott H. Decker and David C. Pyrooz
Wiley Handbooks in Criminology & Criminal Justice
Citation Information
Carson, Dena C., and J. Michael Vecchio. 2015. Leaving the gang: A review and thoughts on future research. In The Wiley Handbook of Gangs, eds. Scott H. Decker and David C. Pyrooz, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell. Available at: