Since the mid-1990s, Long Island’s gang membership has soared, Newsday reports. For those trying to leave gangs, the odds can be stacked against them. Gangs have an often irresistible pull — ex-members say they become family. Violence associated with gangs moves from one generation to the next. Children of incarcerated parents are at least four times as likely to commit crimes as those whose parents are not in prison.
Ex-gang members on Long Island hope to beat the odds by participating in an unusual program, the Community Service Corps, which offers jobs and counseling. Newsday tells stories that appear in the news media only rarely about ex-convicts who are able to straighten out their lives through post-prison programs.