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A Profile of Women Gang Members in Canada

2003 No R-138

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Andrew Mackenzie
&
Sara L. Johnson

Research Branch
Correctional Service of Canada

April 2003

This report is also available in French. Ce rapport est également disponible en français. Veuillez vous adresser à la Direction de la recherche, Service correctionnel du Canada, 340, avenue Laurier ouest, Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0P9. Should additional copies be required they can be obtained from the Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada, 340 Laurier Ave., West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0P9.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank Mark Nafekh and Ben Vuong for their help in obtaining the data for this project, and also thank Ben for his assistance with the analysis. We would especially like to thank Kelley Blanchette for her expertise in the women offender program as well as editing and guidance in the writing of this report.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Research on women gang members in Canada is sparse. Little is known about the characteristics of women gang members and whether they differ from non-gang members. This study profiles and compares female gang members and non-gang members to determine any statistically significant differences between the two groups with respect to static and dynamic indicators that, in turn, may specify gang participation.

The data used for this study were extracted from the Correctional Service of Canada’s automated database containing offender information. In total, there are data for 37 women gang members who have served or are currently serving federal sentences in Canada. For comparative purposes, the gang members were matched with non-gang members on their age group and sentence length.

Twenty-nine percent of the gang members were Aboriginal compared to twenty-three percent of the non-gang members. Since offenders were matched on age, there were no between group differences; however, both groups were slightly younger than the population of incarcerated federally sentenced women. While the data suggests that the number of admissions for gang members is increasing, it constitutes less than 6% of women offender admissions.

Significant differences were noted in overall levels of risk and need, offence types, and security classification. Women offenders identified as gang members were rated as significantly higher risk and higher need than their matched counterparts. In addition, gang members were significantly more likely to be rated as having a high need in associates and attitudes. As well, gang members were more likely to be classified as maximum security and less likely to be classified as minimum security compared to non-gang members. In terms of offence history, gang members were more likely to have committed a violent offence both as young offenders and as adults than were the matched comparison group.

A comparative analysis of the static and dynamic risk factors was conducted. Half of the static and dynamic indicators suggested by current literature illustrated statistically significant differences between gang members and non-gang members. The significant factors showed that gang members were more likely to value substance abuse, be disrespectful of community property, and be supportive of instrumental violence. In addition, they were more likely to have unstable accommodations, less than grade ten education levels, and unstable job histories. Compared to non-gang members, women involved with gangs showed less regard for others, were more often socially unaware, and were rated as impulsive, aggressive, and hostile with low frustration tolerance. Not surprisingly, gang members had greater offence histories and were more likely to have experienced a loss of relationship or close relative.

Overall, the results of this study portray female gang members as aggressive, antisocial women with poor education and employment experiences. They are more likely than their non-gang counterparts to have prior experiences with the criminal justice system for serious and/or violent offences as youth and adults. The significant differences in static and dynamic factors identified by this study will illuminate problematic areas in gang members' lives, thereby, improving rehabilitation methods and allowing their successful reintegration into society.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
LIST OF FIGURES
INTRODUCTION
METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE
RESULTS
Trends in Number of Women Gang Members
Demographic Information
Offence History
Security Level
Risk, Need and Need Domains
Static and Dynamic Indicators Suggested by the Literature
Summary
DISCUSSION
REFERENCES
APPENDIX A
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Proportion of Women Gang Members admitted on warrant of committals to Federal Institutions in Canada 1995-2001
Figure 2: Offence Type
Figure 3: Security Classification at Intake
Figure 4: Risk and Need Levels
Figure 5: Percentage of Offenders with High Level of Need
Figure 6: Antisocial Personality Indicators
Figure 7: Other Static and Dynamic Factors

INTRODUCTION

In recent years, street gangs have been a growing concern for the Canadian criminal justice system. There has also been a rising fear of violent crime committed by young women in Canada (Tremblay, 2000). Current research from the United States suggests that women gang members engage in a full array of illegal activities, but at a lower rate than their male counterparts (Brotherton, 1996; Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999; Miller, 1998; Miller, 2001). The Correctional Service of Canada recently adopted a policy (Commissioner’s Directive 576) to direct the supervision of gang members in institutions and in the community. In an effort to prevent continued gang participation, one of the intentions of this directive is to address some of the areas in offenders' lives that contributed to their original gang membership. The purpose of this paper is to profile women in gangs and provide an analysis of the differences on static and dynamic indicators between women gang members and non-gang members serving federal sentences in Canada1.

There are very few women sentenced to a federal institution who are identified gang members. Between November 1994 and November 2000, the total number of identified women gang members who served a federal sentence in Canada is 492. The task of identifying a woman gang member is further complicated by the introduction of the Commissioner’s Directive 576 concerning the management of gangs and organised crime within institutions and the community. The implications of this directive lead to increased security ratings for identified gang members as well as increased likelihood of transfer. For women offenders, a transfer typically means relocating to a different region of the country as compared to men who have many possible institutional destinations within the same region. For these reasons, it is a difficult task to identify women gang members within federal facilities. Women offenders do not want to be identified as gang members because of the increased security ratings and increased likelihood of transfer associated with gang member identification.

1 Offenders who receive a custodial sentence of two years or more serve their sentence under federal jurisdiction.

2 CSC’s automated base was instituted in 1994. Identification of women gang members prior to 1994 is less reliable.

Traditionally, research on women offenders in general, and women gang members specifically, has been rare in criminal justice literature. The vast majority of related research has focused on male gang members and has viewed women as an aid or appendage to the men. It is only within the last twenty years that women have received increased attention within the criminal justice arena. A comprehensive review of the literature on female gang participation suggests that several static and dynamic factors are associated with their gang involvement. The majority of literature sources examined in this study is American and focus primarily on African American and Latin American street gangs, but the theoretical concepts can be applied within the Canadian context. Within Canadian society there are also ethnic and cultural groups that typically experience increased hardship in their social and economic conditions. Given this similarity between the United States and Canada, the theoretical propositions of American female gang literature should also apply to Canada. The principal caveat of using American sources stems from the fact that there is little mention of Aboriginal women gang members. Aboriginals are Canada's native people. They not only typically experience increased social and economic hardship (Grossman 1992; Harding, Kly, & McDonald 1992; Patenaude, Wood, & Griffiths 1992), but they are also over-represented within the Canadian offender population3. In contrast, the vast majority of American gang literature focuses on immigrant groups; namely, African American and Latin American street gangs.

There is considerable literature suggesting two different explanations for women’s participation in gangs. The first describes gang membership as an improvisation to overcome difficult social and economic conditions faced by lower class youth, similar to the tenets of Robert Merton’s Strain theory (Chang, 1996; Felkenes & Becker, 1995; Laflin, 1996; Laidler & Hunt, 1997; Rosenbaum, 1996). Given the reality of their current situation and the fact that legitimate behaviour does not offer many opportunities to fulfil their goals, lower class youth improvise by turning to street gangs and illegal activities to generate income and achieve their financial goals. The second explanation suggests that gang membership may provide somewhat of a surrogate family to youth who are originally from abusive or dysfunctional homes. Through membership in a gang, girls fulfil personal needs that are not satisfied by their family (Campbell, 1990; Chesney-Lind, Sheldon & Joe, 1996; Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999; Miller, 1998; Nimmo, 2001). Accordingly, the literature suggests female gang members frequently come from broken or troubled homes.

3 Aboriginal women typically comprise over 20% of the women offender population in Canada. In comparison only 2.2% of the total population of women in Canada are Aboriginal.

The inclusion of women in gangs has often involved their sexuality. The female members of a gang are typically dating a male member of the gang and are required to carry weapons and/or drugs since they are less likely to be searched by male police officers (Campbell 1991; Curry 1998). However, other studies have reported that female gang members engage in similar types of violent criminal activity as male gang members, although less frequently (Brotherton, 1996; Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999; Rosenbaum 1996). While some suggest that female gang members are being allowed the opportunity to engage in more frequent and violent criminal activities, the majority of studies suggest that this is not the dominant trend (Chang 1996; Chesney-Lind et al., 1996; Laidler & Hunt 1997; Lurigio, Swartz & Chang 1998; Miller 1998;). There has also been official documentation of street gangs composed strictly of women (Brotherton, 1996; Curry, 1998). However, the majority of research suggests that women are most commonly members of gangs consisting of male and female members and that gangs composed strictly of female members are extremely rare.

There is a growing concern regarding women’s involvement in crime within Canada. Current literature suggests that female gang members can be differentiated from non-gang members on several criteria (Brotherton, 1995; Campbell, 1990; Chang, 1996; Curry, 1998; Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999; Lurigio et al., 1998; Miller, 1998). The purpose of this study is to profile and compare women gang members and non-gang members to determine if there are significant differences on the static and dynamic factors indicating gang participation. The indicators for women’s gang participation identified from the literature can be collapsed into seven major categories or domains. These categories are associates/social interaction, attitude, community functioning, employment, marital/family, personal emotional orientation, and substance abuse. These are also the seven major domains used in the Offender Intake Assessment (OIA) for determining an offender’s criminal risk and needs (Motiuk, 1997). More specifically, the current literature suggests that gang members are substance abusers (Curry, 1998; Miller, 1998), display numerous antisocial behaviour characteristics (Curry, 1998; Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999), support the use of violence (Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999), have difficulty providing for themselves [(i.e. unstable employment and accommodations) (Curry, 1998; Lurigio et al., 1998)] and come from broken or unstable families (Brotherton, 1995; Chang, 1996; Campbell, 1990).

METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE

The current study compares women gang members with matched women non-gang members on the static and dynamic indicators. Data for this study were extracted from the Correctional Service of Canada’s automated database (Offender Management System; OMS). The majority of data extracted from OMS were derived from the Offender Intake Assessment (OIA). There are two central components to the OIA, Static Factors Assessment and Dynamic Factors Identification and Analysis. The indicators for gang participation examined by this project are drawn from both of these sources.

For the purpose of this study, gang members were identified using information from two distinct sources, case management and security data. One of several criteria must be satisfied for an offender to be identified as a gang member. These criteria are:

  1. Reliable source information (inside gang member or rival gang member, legitimate community or institutional resources - business and citizens.
  2. Police information provided as a result of observed ongoing association with other known gang member(s).
  3. Tangible written, electronic, or photographic evidence which states or suggests that a subject is a member.
  4. Admission of gang membership.
  5. Arrested while participating in a criminal activity with known gang member(s).
  6. Criminal involvement in gang activity.
  7. A judicial finding that the subject is a gang member.
  8. Common and/or symbolic gang identification, tattoos or paraphernalia.

Based on these criteria, between November 1994 and November 2000, 32 women were identified as gang members through security information. In addition, 27 gang members were identified by Offender Intake Assessment (OIA) information. There were 10 gang members identified through both sources and 12 offenders did not have sufficient OIA data available, leaving 37 identified gang members with sufficient data for this study.

Information with respect to type of gang affiliation was available for 32 of the 37 identified members. These data revealed that about 35% (11/32) of women members are affiliated with Aboriginal gangs. Six women (19% of those in gangs) were associated with Asian gangs, and another six (19% of those in gangs) were members of traditional organized crime groups. Three women were members of motorcycle gangs, and the remaining six were classified as other gang types (e.g., street gangs, white supremacist, terrorist organizations).

A matched random sample of women offenders (gang members versus non-gang members) was used for analysis. Thirty-six gang members were matched on age group (five-year cohorts) and sentence length. The selected criteria precluded the possibility of matching all 37 of the gang members with non-gang members.

A chi-square (χ2) test was used to determine the statistical significance of differences between the two groups on dichotomous variables, and independent sample t-tests were used to determine the statistical significance for differences between groups on continuous variables.

RESULTS

The results are presented in four sections. The first section presents the trends in the number of women gang members admitted to federal custody, while the remaining sections present comparisons between the gang members and non-gang members on various characteristics.

Trends in Number of Women Gang Members

In order to put women's gang involvement into context, it is essential to examine the number identified as gang members relative to the number of women in the federal offender population. As can be seen in Figure 1, the percentage of warrant committal admissions for female gang members compared to all women’s admissions in Canada in federal correctional facilities increased between 1995 and 1999, although the proportion is still quite low. Even at the highest level, slightly less than 6% of women offenders admitted on a warrant of committal were gang members.

Figure 1: Proportion of Women Gang Members admitted on warrant of committals to Federal Institutions in Canada 1995-1999

Figure 1: Proportion of Women Gang Members admitted on warrant of committals to Federal Institutions in Canada 1995-1999

Demographic Information

In order to provide a descriptive profile of women gang members as compared to a matched group of offenders, age and race were examined. The range in age for identified gang members was 20 to 67 years, with a mean of 31.8 years (SD = 10.5), compared to 20 to 50 years with a mean of 31.7 years (SD = 8.6) for the matched sample of non-gang members. While the gang member age distribution is slightly skewed because of an extreme score (67), the medians of both groups were the same: about 31 years. Since age group is one of the categories used to match the offenders, this similarity is not surprising. It is interesting to note that these offenders are, on average, younger than the average federally incarcerated woman, who is 34 years of age. There is also little difference between the two groups in terms of their age at first federal admission (mgang = 28.2, mnon-gang = 28.4).

Aboriginal women were slightly over-represented among the gang members in this study. Twenty-nine percent of women gang members were Aboriginal compared to twenty-two percent of non-gang members, although this difference is not statistically significant. In comparison, approximately 26% of all federally sentenced women incarcerated in 2000 were of Aboriginal descent.

Offence History

Current and previous offences, including the types of offences committed as youth were examined. There are considerably more gang members than non-gang members who committed scheduled offences as youth (30% vs. 12%); this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.07). In general, scheduled offences include violent and serious drug offences.

Comparison of the offenders' use of violence as adults also provided some interesting results. Gang members are far more likely to have been convicted of a violent offence (assault/robbery only) than non-gang members. This finding is highly significant for both previous and current offences (p = 0.02).

This study also compared the current offence types of gang and non-gang members. While there are not any significant differences between the gang and non-gang members, some interesting relationships are noted. Surprisingly, non-gang members account for a slightly larger percentage of homicide offences. This is surprising considering gangs are commonly portrayed as being heavily involved in violent activities, although the literature suggests that the role of women in serious gang violence such as murder is limited (Miller, 2001). Not surprisingly, there are larger percentages of gang members convicted of assault, drug trafficking, drug possession, robbery, sex offences, and theft. However, only the difference in the rate at which gang and non-gang members had current assault convictions was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The breakdowns of the percentages for offence types are summarized in Figure 2

Figure 2: Offence Type

Figure 2: Offence Type

Security Level

The level of security placement at admission was examined for each offender in the two groups. There are statistically significant differences between the two groups. The results suggest gang members are more likely to have higher security ratings (p < 0.01). Sixteen percent of gang members are classified as requiring maximum security placement compared to none of the non-gang members. This pattern continues as 66% of gang members are classified as medium security compared to 55% of non-gang members. Finally, only 19% of women involved in gangs are classified as minimum security at intake compared to 45% of non-gang members. These results are summarised in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Security Classification at Intake

Figure 3: Security Classification at Intake

Risk, Need and Need Domains

When an offender is admitted to a federal institution, part of the intake process includes an assessment of the offender's overall levels of risk and need to produce a correctional plan. Offenders are rated as low, moderate, or high risk and low, moderate, or high need. A comparison of the assessed levels of risk and need should yield evidence to support the idea that the gang and non-gang members are very different in numerous attributes. Not surprisingly, gang members have significantly higher levels of risk compared to their non-gang member counterparts (see Figure 4). Over 30% of gang members admitted to federal institutions are assessed as being high risk compared to 6% of non-gang members. Gang members also have significantly higher levels of needs. Forty-three percent of gang members are assessed as having high needs compared to 19% of non-gang members. It is also important to note that relatively few gang members were assessed as low risk (19% vs. 47%) or low need (8% vs. 33%) as compared to the non-gang members.

Figure 4: Risk and Need Levels

Figure 4: Risk and Need Levels

During the intake process, offenders are rated on a four-point scale to indicate the offender’s level of need in each of the domains: associates, attitude, community functioning, family/marital, employment, personal/emotional, and substance abuse. To aid analysis and interpretation, this four-point scale was collapsed into two categories: high or low/no level of need on each domain. There were statistically significant between group (p < 0.05) differences for two of the seven domains. Gang members are far more likely to be rated as having a high level of need in the associates and attitude domains. The fact that they are more likely to display a high level of need in the associates domain is not surprising considering they are gang members, but the fact that they display significant differences in the attitude domain is important. A high needs rating in the attitude domain suggests they will have to experience dramatic personal change in terms of their attitudes. It is also important that there was a notable difference between gang members and non-gang members with respect to the family/marital domain. However, the finding was opposite to that which would have been expected; fewer gang members had a high level of need than did non-gang members (57% vs. 75%, p = 0.10). A summary of the levels of need in all domains is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Percentage of Offenders with High Level of Need

Figure 5: Percentage of Offenders with High Level of Need

Static and Dynamic Indicators Suggested by the Literature

The indicators for gang participation suggested by the literature are summarized as they pertain to the major domains used in the Offender Intake Assessment process. Significant between group differences were found in the following domains: attitude, community functioning, employment, and personal/ emotional orientation. A tabular summary of all the static and dynamic indicators examined in this study is located in Appendix A.

A high percentage of gang members have been found to be substance abusers in previous research (Miller, 1998). While analyses showed no significant difference in alcohol or drug abuse, significant between group differences were found between gang members and non-gang members on whether or not they value substance abuse. Almost one third of gang members were assessed as valuing substance abuse compared to only 6% of non-gang members.

There were several variables used to examine differences in antisocial behaviour between the two groups (Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999). The attitude domain contains two variables that display significant between group differences. Others found in the personal/emotional domain will be discussed later. Gang members are more likely to be disrespectful of community property when compared to non-gang members (17% vs. 3%). Similarly, gang members are also more likely to be supportive of instrumental violence (33% vs. 3%).

Some research has demonstrated that offenders involved in gangs were more likely to have unstable living accommodations prior to arrest (Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999). This variable is part of the community functioning domain. As expected, 51% of gang members had unstable accommodations prior to arrest compared to just 21% of non-gang members (p < 0.01).

The literature suggests that poor educational attainment or academic orientation is also a possible indicator of gang participation (Chang, 1996; Curry, 1998; Lurigio et al., 1998; Nimmo, 2001). Results of the current study support this finding with nearly 70% of gang members reporting less than a grade ten education, compared to 39% of non-gang members. Poor education may also be a contributing factor in explaining why 77% of gang members have unstable job histories compared to 48% of non-gang members. Both of these between group differences are statistically significant (p < 0.01).

Research on gang participation suggests that gang members are more likely to be impulsive (Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999). The impulsive variable is also part of the personal/emotional domain and the current results indicate that gang members are significantly more likely to be impulsive, (72% vs. 42%). Furthermore, research suggests that gang members are more likely to be socially inept (Lurigio et al., 1998). To test this suggestion, the 'socially unaware' indicator was examined. Results indicated that significantly more gang members were assessed as socially unaware compared to non-gang members (33% vs. 3%, p < 0.001).

As noted above, there are several variables from the personal/emotional domain included to examine differences in terms of antisocial behaviour. Significant differences between the two groups were found on a number of variables suggesting that gang members are consistently antisocial in their attitudes and behaviour. As shown in Figure 6, the variables with significant between group differences include disregard for others, aggression, low frustration tolerance and hostility problems. Given the statistically significant differences between the gang members and non-gang members on the different measures of antisocial behaviour, it is clear that gang members have higher intervention needs associated with antisocial behaviour and attitudes.

Figure 6: Antisocial Personality Indicators

Figure 6: Antisocial Personality Indicators

Gang members are also expected to have experienced negative life events (Deschenes & Esbenson, 1999). To examine this suggestion, groups were compared on whether they had experienced the recent loss of a relationship or death of a close relative. Seventeen percent of gang members had endured such an experience compared to none of the non-gang members.

Some research suggests that another difference between gang members and non-gang members is offence history (Miller, 1998). Results of the current study show that far more gang members (85%) than non-gang members (55%) have committed previous offences.

Overall, 14 of 28 antisocial personality indicators are significant, suggesting increased likelihood of gang involvement associated with these indicators. A summary of the variables examined in this section is found in Figure 7. When looking at the table of indicators in Appendix A, it is clear that gang members are more likely to illustrate the suggested personal/emotional characteristics on nearly all the suggested indicators. If a larger sample size had been achieved to match and analyze, many more of these indicators would likely be significant.

Figure 7: Other Static and Dynamic Factors

Figure 7: Other Static and Dynamic Factors

Summary

The participants in this study were matched to ensure similarity in terms of their age and sentence length. This analysis showed numerous differences between gang members and non-gang members based on the assessed levels of risk and need, offence types and use of violence as adults and young offenders, security classification at admission and static and dynamic indicators suggested by the literature. Women gang members are more likely to display many of the indicators for gang participation suggested by the literature, especially the variables included to assess the presence of antisocial personality characteristics. Women involved with gangs are also more likely to be assessed as having high levels of risk and need, commit violent offences and experience increased security classifications. Overall, these findings demonstrate that there are many important differences between gang members and non-gang members with respect to the static and dynamic indicators examined in this study.

DISCUSSION

The purpose of this study was to profile and compare women gang members and non-gang members to examine whether it is possible to differentiate between groups on the suggested criteria indicating gang participation. Significant between group differences were found on many of the indicators suggested in the (primarily American) literature. Overall, the findings portray an image of female gang members as aggressive, antisocial women, with poor education and unstable employment histories, who have had prior experiences with the criminal justice system for serious and/or violent offences as youth and adults. When these women are admitted to federal institutions they are assessed as higher risk with increased levels of need. Women involved with gangs also receive significantly higher security classifications at admission. The data suggests that the increased security ratings are a result of both their static and dynamic indicators and their gang member status. In addition, Commissioner’s Directive 576 sets out that risks posed by gang membership will be considered as it relates to security recommendations. Regardless of the cause, the most important point is that the differences between the two groups are highly significant.

The goal of this study was to identify the potential indicators of gang involvement in an effort to direct future assessment and intervention for female gang members and aid their reintegration into society.

According to this study's findings, treatment of antisocial attitudes is an important priority for female gang members. Furthermore, educational upgrading and vocational training appear to be particularly salient treatment needs. However, additional research is needed to assess the best approaches to the provision of services to women gang members while incarcerated and following release into the community. It is necessary that gang membership and associated responsivity factors be addressed in all interventions provided to women gang members.

As a caveat, it is necessary to emphasize that the number of female gang members incarcerated in Canadian federal institutions is relatively low, although there may be more women who were not identified and, therefore, not included in this study. In general, it appears that gang involvement among women presents a relatively limited challenge to the management of female inmates.

REFERENCES

Brotherton, D. C. (1996). ‘Smartness,’ ‘Toughness,’ and ‘Autonomy’: Drug Use in the Context of Gang Female Delinquency. Journal of Drug Issues, 26(1), pp. 261-277.

Campbell, A. (1991). The Girls in the Gang. Cambridge MA: Basil Blackwell Inc.

Campbell, A. (1990). On the Invisibility of the Female Delinquent Peer Group Women and Criminal Justice, 2(1), pp. 41-63.

Chang, J. (1996). A Comparative Study of Female Gang and Non-Gang Members in Chicago. Journal of Gang Research, 4(1), pp. 9-17.

Chesney-Lind, M., Randall G. S. & Joe, K. A. (1996). Girls, Delinquency and Gang Membership. In Huff Ronald C. (ed.) Gangs in America. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, pp. 185-204.

Curry, D. C. (1998). Female Gang Involvement. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35(1), pp. 100-118.

Deschenes, E. E., & Esbensen, F. A. (1999). Violence and Gangs: Gender Differences in Perceptions and Behavior. Journal of Quantitative Criminology,15(1), pp. 63-96.

Felkenes, G. K., & Becker, H. K. (1995). Female Gang Members: A Growing Issue for Policy Makers. Journal of Gang Research 2(4), pp. 1-10.

Grossman, M.G. (1992). Two Perspectives on Aboriginal Female Suicides in Custody. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 34(3-4), pp. 403-415.

Harding, J., Kly, Y. & MacDonald, D. (1992). Overcoming Systematic Discrimination Against Aboriginal People in Saskatchewan: Brief to the Indian Justice Review Committee and the Metis Justice Review Committee. Regina, Saskatchewan: University of Regina School of Human Justice.

Laflin, M. (1996). Girl Gangs. Law and Order, 44(3), pp. 87-89.

Laidler, K. A.J. & Hunt, G. (1997). Violence and Social Organization in Female Gangs. Social Justice, 24(4), pp. 148-169.

Lurigio, A. J., Swartz, J. A., & Chang, J. (1998). A Descriptive and Comparative Analysis of Female Gang Members. Journal of Gang Research, 5(4), pp. 23-33.

Miller, J. (1998). Gender and Victimization Risk Among Young Women in Gangs. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35(4), pp. 429-453.

Miller, J. (2001). One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs, and Gender. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Motiuk, L. (1997). “Classification for Correctional Programming: The Offender Intake Assessment (OIA) Process.” Forum on Correctional Research, 9(1), pp. 13-22.

Nimmo (2001). The 'Invisible' Gang Members: A Report on Female Gang Affiliation in Winnipeg. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Winnipeg, MB.

Patenaude, A.L., Wood, D. S. & Griffiths, C. T. (1992). Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian Correctional System: Critical Issues and Prospects for ‘Localized’ Corrections. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 8(2), pp. 114-136.

Rosenbaum, J. L. (1996). A Violent Few: Gang Girls in the California Youth Authority. Journal of Gang Research, 3(3), pp. 17-23.

Tremblay, S. (2000). Crime Statistics in Canada. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics: Juristat, pp. 20(5).

 

APPENDIX A

Risk Factors for Women’s Gang Participation Suggested by the Literature

Domain

Indicator

Gang %

Non-gang %

Prob.
of 2

Associates

Socially Isolated?

22.2

25.0

ns

Attitude

Values substance abuse?

27.8

6.1

0.02

Disrespectful of community property?

22.9

3.0

0.02

Disrespectful of commercial property?

17.1

3.0

0.06

Supportive of Instrumental violence?

33.3

3.1

0.00

Community
Functioning

Has unstable accommodation?

51.4

21.2

0.01

Difficulty meeting bills?

50.0

46.9

ns

Has outstanding debts?

33.3

37.5

ns

Employment

Has less than grade 10?

69.4

39.4

0.01

Finds learning difficult?

22.2

21.2

ns

Has learning disabilities?

11.4

9.1

ns

Has an unstable job history?

77.1

48.5

0.01

Has no employment history?

38.9

21.2

ns

Salary has been insufficient?

27.8

33.3

ns

Family/ Marital

Currently single?

55.6

54.6

ns

Personal/
Emotional

Family ties are problematic?

41.7

40.6

ns

Has disregard for others?

30.6

3.0

0.01

Socially unaware?

33.3

3.0

0.00

Impulsive?

72.2

42.4

0.01

Aggressive?

47.2

15.2

0.00

Poor conflict resolution?

62.9

60.6

ns

Has low frustration tolerance?

50.0

24.2

0.03

Hostile?

27.8

9.1

0.05

Mentally deficient?

2.9

6.1

ns

Substance
Abuse

Abuses alcohol?

52.8

42.4

ns

Abuses drugs?

66.7

48.5

ns

Suicide

Loss of relationship, death of close relative

17.7

0.0

0.01

Offence
Severity
Record

Previous offences -any?

85.3

54.6

0.01

Note. Bolded variables indicate they are significant at the 0.05 level or better.

Italicized variables indicate they are approaching significance (>0.05 to 0.10 level)

 

Other Possible Risk Factors for Women’s Gang Participation

Indicator

Gang %

Non-gang %

Prob.
of2

Associates domain assessed as problematic?

89.2

66.7

0.02

Attitude domain assessed as problematic?

51.4

16.7

0.00

Community functioning domain assessed as problematic?

46.0

47.2

ns

Employment domain assessed as problematic?

75.7

72.2

ns

Family domain assessed as problematic?

56.8

75.0

0.10

Personal/emotional domain assessed as problematic?

91.9

86.1

ns

Substance abuse domain assessed as problematic?

62.2

50.0

ns

Assault?

32.4

11.1

0.03

Break and Enter?

2.7

2.8

ns

Drug Possession?

8.1

2.8

ns

Drug Trafficking?

37.8

44.4

ns

Fraud?

10.8

5.6

ns

Homicide?

13.5

16.7

ns

Robbery?

24.3

16.7

ns

Sex Offence?

5.4

0.0

ns

Theft?

24.3

11.1

ns

Weapons?

8.1

8.3

ns

Scheduled convictions as youth?

30.3

12.1

0.07

Violent offence -past? (assault, robbery)

41.2

12.1

0.01

Violent offence -current? (assault, robbery)

55.9

21.2

0.00

Violent offence -current? (all violent offences)

37.5

25.0

ns

Classified as maximum security?

15.6

0.00

0.01

Classified as medium security?

65.6

54.6

Classified as minimum security?

18.8

45.5

Note. Bolded variables indicate they are significant at the 0.05 level or better.

Italicized variables indicate they are approaching significance (>0.05 to 0.10 level).