Inmates Explain Why They Used Guns


Guns offer protection, redress grievances, give power and status. and are a ticket to a culture where violence is an acceptable fact of life. So say 67 men and six women who were in Colorado prisons in 2003 and 2004 serving time for gun crimes. They were interviewed by three Colorado professors who tell the inmates’ stories in a new book, “Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior: The Offender’s Perspective,” the Denver Post reports

The book – funded by the U.S. Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program – offers an often-overlooked perspective on the motivations behind gun crime, said Mark Pogrebin, professor of criminal justice at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. “It’s an explanation really of what happened before, during and after the crime has been committed,” Pogrebin said. His team included Paul Stretesky of the School of Public Affairs at UC Denver, and Prabha Unnithan, professor of sociology at Colorado State University. “Many inmates claimed that they believe that (they) had no other choice in the situation but to use their gun to harm, murder or intimidate another person,” said the authors. “To them, it was the only possible choice they could have made at the moment.”

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