Father Greg Boyle on His Gang-Intervention and Rehab Program
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the New Jersey Reentry Conference at Saint Peter’s University to speak with Father Greg Boyle, S.J., Founder, Homeboy Industries to discuss the gang intervention and rehabilitation program, forgiveness and redemption.
"I'm Steve Adubato. This is Saint Peter's University. We are here at the Annual Reentry Conference. It is called The Road to Salvation: From Addiction to Employment. The New Jersey Reentry Corporation is holding this conference. And the keynote speaker is with me right now. He is, in fact, Father Greg Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries. All the way in from Los Angeles last night to speak at this conference today. Tell folks what Homeboy Industries is. It's the largest gang intervention rehab reentry program on the planet. And it's in Los Angeles. We've been around for 31 years. We get 15,000 folks a year walking through our doors. There are 120,000 gang members in LA County, and 1,100 gangs. So we responded... Why did you start this? I'm sorry for interrupting Father. Why did you start it? Yeah. Well I was pastor of the poorest parish in the city that had eight gangs at war with each other. And I was burying kids. So we started a school and a jobs program, and then social enterprises, and now we've evolved into this quite large operation. Connect for folks who may not understand this. It is the New Jersey Reentry Corporation. The reentry issue is a New Jersey issue, but it is a societal issue. Explain to folks how challenging it is for people who have been incarcerated to come out and reenter society and find employment? Much more complicated because of the addiction, often to opioids. How complicated and difficult? Well the complication in Los Angeles is of gang involvement and how they heavily stigmatize themselves with tattoos and things that are... Stigmatize themselves? Yeah. By putting tattoos on themselves. And you know... and so it... the degree of difficulty in trying to locate gainful employment gets higher and higher. You know, we try to, you know, combat that and have done, I think... How? Well, by changing the image of folks, you know. If you think that human beings are involved, you might give people a chance. You might start to think, maybe perhaps we're all a whole lot more than the worst things we've ever done. So Homeboy stands as a notion, which is, "What if we were to invest in people rather than just trying to incarcerate our way out of this problem?" In Los Angeles' case, it's an intense gang issue. Okay. But we're in Jersey City. You have other cities like Newark and Paterson and Camden and Trenton. Do you feel, Father, that the Los Angeles experience, the gang-related experience, is in any way different, significantly different, than the urban gang-oriented activities and the challenges that these, often young men, but also young women, face in New Jersey? Well..."