Young people in Britain’s deprived communities risk being trapped
in a “deadly symbiosis” where prison culture increasingly takes
hold on the street, an academic has warned.
The growing convergence between prison and gang cultures alienates
young people from mainstream society. It results in them being more
likely to carry guns and increasingly seeing themselves as
“soldiers”, said University of Luton professor of socio-legal
studies John Pitts.
The deadly symbiosis theory was originally proposed by a US
academic to describe gang culture in Chicago.
But Pitts said research he was carrying out with ethnic minority
communities in south London suggested the principle could take hold
He described young people who did not see their lives going on
beyond 25 and expected to “go out in a blaze of glory, and they
don’t expect it to hurt”.