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PBPYD Presentation: David Pyrooz – “The final frontier in gang research: Prisons, gangs, and the LoneStar Project”
July 20, 2017 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
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 why 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 two related streams of findings from the LoneStar Project, or 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 along with 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 the self-reports of gang members in prison valid? A multi-level model of correspondence and a multi-trait, multi-method matrix is constructed to examine the convergent and discriminant validity of self- and official reports of gang membership. These findings are situated within the body of research on survey methodology, while outlining new directions in research in prison.