Jesus Saved an Ex-Con: Political Activism and Redemption after Incarceration (2018)
Jesus Saved an Ex-Con draws from eighteen months of fieldwork in Los Angeles and in Chicago to examine how civic religion facilitates empowering social integration among the formerly incarcerated.
Faith-based groups engaged in "prophetic redemption"—drawing from religious displays to expand democratic inclusion and foster social integration. In Chicago, the Community Renewal Society drew from the historically Black Protestant church's insurgent traditions of civic activism to incubate the FORCE project. In Los Angeles, LA Voice and Homeboy Industries drew from Catholic-Jesuit pastoral traditions to incubate the Homeboys Local Organizing Committee.
These civic groups were successful in advocating for the passage of state bills and local ordinances regulating the use of criminal background checks, eliminating "absolute bars" against persons with records in some industries of employment, and appropriating public funds for rehabilitation.
Jesus Saved an Ex-Con was the featured review for Sociology of Religion, and was also reviewed in Reading Religion and Review of Religious Research.
God's Gangs: Barrio Ministry, Masculinity and Gang Recovery (2014)
God's Gangs examined how Latinos leave gangs by way of faith-based programs. It drew from eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Los Angeles, at two sites: the Jesuit-Catholic founded non-profit Homeboy Industries, and the Pentecostal church Victory Outreach. Findings suggested that religious practices shape the gendered negotiations that facilitate the process of recovery from gang life.
God's Gangs has been reviewed in the American Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, Gender & Society, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Religion and Society, Journal of Jesuit Studies, Pneuma, Journal of Gender Studies, Men and Masculinities, Crime, Law and Social Change, and Choice.