chapter  4
24 Pages

Work and Crime and Crime as Work

ByDeborah R. Baskin, Ira B. Sommers

For most individuals, the key to a successful transition from adolescence to adulthood is finding a job. This chapter describes how the women the authors interviewed tried to make a living. It explores their progression from early involvement in the legal and formal economy to their ultimate embeddedness in the informal and illicit economy. The chapter shares the women's descriptions of how their involvement in crime or drugs further attenuated their bonds to the legal workaday world and finally brought about a rupture in those attachments. A tension always existed between their involvement in legal and illegal work and between the asocial world of formal labor and the seemingly social atmosphere promised by criminal involvement. As the women interviewed floated from one job to the next, rather than develop a resume of work experiences they demonstrated their inability to retain employment, obtain new job skills, or engage in activities that would launch their careers within the legal economy.