Book Review: The gang’s all queer: The lives of gay gang members

Date01 March 2022
Published date01 March 2022
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Chapter 6 serves as a conclusion to the text. Rickard addresses the shortcomings of current notica-
tion laws to prevent crimes and the publics understanding of the sex offenders likelihood of reoffend-
ing. She underscores the difculty in having a rational debate about existing policies regarding sex
offenders; there is no sex offender advocacy group, and no lawmaker wants to appear soft on crime.
Rickard makes a policy recommendation to remove sex offender registration and notication laws.
She points out that they do little to effect recidivism rates, and most sex offenders are rst-timeoffenders.
Considering the stigma that comes with being a sex offender (even for a minor of fense), future research
should be conducted to investigate whether removing notication laws has a negative impact.
Rickard utilizes qualitative data through narrative analysis to uncover how respondents manage
the sex offender label and their existence in free society that places constrictions on them. She inter-
viewed six men for 3 hr each (two 90-min interviews) using open-ended in-depth interviewing
methods. This technique was used to avoid imposing a narrative on the interviewee by restricting
their answers based on a predetermined line of questioning. The rst interview consisted of questions
aimed at collecting background information including family history. This interviewing strategy was
aimed at building the rapport necessary to discuss their current and prior offenses in the follow-up
interview. The second interview focused on the nature of their offense. Rickard chose nonstructured
interviewing techniques to allow the respondents to construct their own story to result in unique nar-
ratives that were meaningful to each person being interviewed.
Rickard outlines efforts to gain access to research subjects and the challenges incurred. Only three
sex offender treatment centers were labeled as such, making it difcult to nd locations to recruit
participants. Through the Probation Department, Rickard was able to distribute iers to probation
ofcers to pass along to their clients.Rickard received calls to participate in the study, but few
returned her calls or showed up for interviews, even with a nancial incentive to do so. Utilizing
this strategy, Rickard was able to interview four men. When Rickard went to one of the treatment
centers to discuss the project and increased the nancial incentive, she was able to recruit seven
more men, two of whom were interviewed. She does not state why she ultimately chose these six
men to interview and capture in this text. Based on the small sample size, Rickards results may
not be generalizable, but the stories conveyed by the respondents are on par with the current literature
on sex offender typologies.
Sex Offenders, Stigma, and Social Control is well suited for undergraduate and graduate students in
criminal justice classes. Often, I nd undergraduate students think of sex offenders as falling into dichot-
omous categories (rapists and child molesters). This text can challenge popularly conceived notions of
offending and is useful in guiding conversations on sex offenders, treatment, and the impact of public
policy. Furthermore, Sex Offenders, Stigma, and Social Control effectively outlines how correctional
policy impacts real people. Finally, Sex Offenders, Stigma, and Social Control would be an ideal text
for offender counseling classes. Students who are interested in correctional counseling would nd
this text insightful and valuable in considering how to counsel sex offender populations.
Panl, V. R. (2017). The gangs all queer: The lives of gay gang members. New York: New York University Press.
289 pp. $28.00, ISBN: 9781479870028.
Reviewed by: Christian L. Bolden, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819839116
The Gangs All Queer sets out to contest the heteronormative framework of criminological research
regarding whocan be a gang member and howpeople navigate boundaries and identity work in
the precarious social arena of gangs and street life. On both fronts, Panl successfully accomplishes
Book Reviews 125

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