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Work, Workplace Deviance, and Criminal Offenders: An Analysis of Project GANGMILL

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: Fall 2002 Pages: 1-10
Michael J. Witkowski; Robert J. Homant; Erick Barnes
Date Published
10 pages
This article explores the work history of juvenile and adult offenders involved with gangs.
Project GANGMILL, conducted in 1998-1999, explored the role of work and workplace deviance in the careers of criminal offenders. The sample consisted of 3,489 juvenile and adult offenders in 23 different correctional facilities located in 7 States. A five-item scale was included with questions regarding stealing from work, robbing or burglarizing a company that one worked for, threatening or assaulting someone at work, selling drugs on the job, and returning to a former job site to commit a crime. Results indicate that offenders with a work history came from somewhat more stable, less deviant backgrounds. They were less committed to any gang identity. Among the subjects that did work, there was a good deal of variance in terms of whether they engaged in various criminal behaviors in the workplace. Having gang members in the workplace can be a potentially dangerous situation. Gang members are more likely to steal, rob or burglarize, threaten or assault, sell drugs at work, and victimize former employers. Fear of potential workplace violence is well founded in that gang members have ready access to guns, are far more likely to utilize a gun while perpetrating a crime, and have been arrested with weapons having significant firepower and explosive capacity. Lack of a cautious selection process can result in liability charges of wrongful or negligent hiring, negligent retention, and negligent supervision. The fact of past gang membership need not be a disqualifier for a job applicant if there are no significant present gang ties and the individual is able to show a recent history that is free of generally deviant, criminal behavior. 2 tables, 23 references