Homeboy Industries (HBI), established by Father Gregory Boyle, S.J., has evolved into a model program of gang intervention services for inner-city youth, offering alternatives to gang violence in one of the toughest areas in Los Angles. Homeboy Industries provides job training positions and free social services for formerly gang involved and previously incarcerated men and women. Each client is assigned a Case Manager on day one who helps them set a goal plan that may include: obtaining a high school diploma or GED, a course of action for release from parole or probation, and a general game plan for needed services, classes, and skills in order to find outside employment. Many of the homeboys and homegirls arrive into young adulthood with no support system and absent families. Homeboy provides a supportive community, a sense of family and a place where they come to help find their strengths, learn job skills, get an education, learn new life skills, and become contributing members to their families and communities. Daily activities for the “homies” (HBI trainees) might include attending a class such as Computer Basics, Bridge to College, Building Healthy Relationships, Anger Management, or Parenting, and perhaps having a one-on-one appointment with a mental health counselor and a tattoo removal session. Life at HBI begins for trainees with work in the maintenance department. During the course of their time at HBI, trainees move from maintenance to a vocational skill-building position in one of its six social enterprises (including the Homeboy Café and the Homegirl Café), or an administrative position in its program headquarters.
Evaluation findings suggest that participation in HBI appears to lead to a significant decrease in criminal acts and disengagement from gang activity. Four services were strongly associated with positive outcomes on several HBI client goals: (1) alcohol and drug rehabilitation, (2) anger management and domestic violence, (3) mental health services, and (4) tattoo removal. From the viewpoints of youth who voluntarily came to HBI for help in getting out of gang life and succeeded in making this transition, five key services were deemed most critical to their success: (1) ending gangbanging and replacing it with positive activities, including jobs; (2), establishing a new identity; (3) improved parenting and family relationships; (4) overcoming drug and alcohol addiction; and (5) establishing plans for a future.
National Gang Center: Promising gang structure
130 West Bruno Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (323) 526-1254
Fax: (323) 526-1257
Leap, J., Franke. T., Christie, C., & Bonis, S. (2010). Nothing stops a bullet like a job: Homeboy Industries gang prevention and intervention in Los Angeles. In J. Hoffman & L. Knox (Eds.), Beyond suppression: Global Perspectives on Youth Justice (pp. 127–138). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger