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Video: How a Utah gang member became a college prof

Published February 7, 2013 12:37 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

At age 16, Robert J. Durán joined a street gang in Ogden.

For many, such a choice means eventually going to prison or dying an early death. But Durán stopped participating in gangs and began studying them and the police and societal response to gangs.

Durán, now an associate professor of criminal justice at New Mexico State University, has written a book that is part memoir and part academic journal. The book from Columbia University Press is called "Gang Life in Two Cities: An Insider's Journey."

Durán participated in a video chat with Tribune crime co-editor Nate Carlisle to discuss his book and gangs in Utah. Some of what he says reflects worse upon the police and Utah culture than it does the gang members.