Episode 58

Father Greg Boyle

Father Greg Boyle is the founder
of Homeboy Industries, the largest
gang intervention, rehabilitation
and re-entry program in the world.

About The Show

“For 40 years I’ve worked with gang members. I’ve ever met a bad person. I’ve ever met an evil person. You would think maybe I might have, but I haven’t. I’ve met despondent people, and mentally ill people, and traumatized people, but uh I’ve never met anybody evil. Everybody’s unshakably good, and there are no exceptions. Consequently, we belong to each other, no exceptions.”
-Father Greg

In this interview, Father Boyle shares the origin story of Homeboy Industries, which started in the late 1980s as a jobs program and bakery to provide opportunities for rival gang members in Boyle Heights. Over time it has expanded to over a dozen social enterprises employing hundreds of people. Father Boyle emphasizes the power of bringing enemies together through work, allowing their common humanity to overcome past divisions. The culture of compassion cultivated at Homeboy offers gang members an “exit ramp” from violence when they are ready for change. Actor Richard Cabral, a former gang member and Homeboy client, also joins briefly to credit Father Boyle with helping him turn his life around and launch an acting career. Overall, this interview highlights the transformative impact Homeboy Industries has had through employment, community building and “dosing” gang members with unconditional love and acceptance. It offers an inspirational model of rehabilitation based on healing trauma rather than punishment.


(00:00:00) Introduction
(00:01:33) Origins of Homeboy Industries in the 1980s during spike in gang violence
(00:04:33) Challenges for outsiders coming into gang-controlled neighborhoods
(00:08:58) Gaining trust and acceptance from gang members
(00:11:44) Negotiating first gang truces in the 1990s
(00:13:15) Getting rival gangs to work together at Homeboy Bakery
(00:16:17) Launching social enterprises like bakery without business expertise
(00:19:30) Expanding Homeboy Industries model nationally and globally
(00:21:43) Envisioning ‘Hope Village’ as alternative to incarceration
(00:24:57) Improved police-community relations over decades
(00:26:50) Shift in LA from ‘tough on crime’ to supporting rehab programs
(00:28:10) Keys for individuals to make a change as gang members
(00:31:29) Helping homies expand aspirations for their futures
(00:32:04) Reframing program success and failure with compassion
(00:34:40) Passing leadership roles to former gang members
(00:36:24) Connecting Homeboy Industries with The Last Mile

Episode Resources:
Homeboy Industries
Father Greg on Instagram
Father Greg on X

Behind The Scenes


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