The Gang Mother
From: Gang Life
Monica, a forty-fiveyear-
old lesbian gang mother. Now clean after too many years of
injecting morphine and cocaine, she takes in young gang members
and cares for them. She was terrorized by a foster father
and attributes her sexual orientation to his sexual violence. She
founded her gang over twenty years ago and ran a gang house
for decades. Monica has a chaotic notion of “mothering.” She
tries her best to parent her own four children and over one dozen
grandchildren even though most are in foster care. Yet, almost all
of the young gang members she welcomes into her home are on
the run from foster and group homes.
MARK TOTTEN is a professor of criminal justice at Humber College in Toronto whose research focuses on organized crime, corrections, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, mental health, violence, and gender identity. Over the past decade, he has collaborated with groups in Ontario and Western Canada in the development and evaluation of multi-year gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies.