Intervention Programs For Gang Membership Essay

Intervention Programs For Gang Membership Essay

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To assess proper intervention methodology, one must first understand intervention in the context of gang membership. “One of the explicit goals of many recent and ongoing criminal justice interventions is to target youth most at risk for involvement in serious, chronic, and violent offending,” (Melde, Gavazzi, McGarrell & Bynum, 2011). That said, the unfortunate truth is that intervention programs focusing on active gang members are largely lacking in the United States. Instead, the focus has been put on at-risk youth prior to gang initiation as well as putting active gang members behind bars rather than positively intervening with the individual(s). Frustratingly, most research and literature on intervention programs for gang members instead focus on at-risk youth, often neglecting the active gang member population altogether, in essence writing them off as hardened criminals up to no good who cannot be helped and instead need to be punished. In the United States, the focus has long been retroactive in reference to criminal behavior in general. The cradle-to-prison pipeline, implementation of zero-tolerance policies as well as the privatization of prisons have become an enormous problem that foster a society of judgment rather than one of assistance. (Hertzog, 2009).
II. Comin’ Up Gang Intervention Visit
For our agency project, our group went and visited the Comin’ Up Gang Intervention program based out of the Boys & Girls Club near Texas Wesleyan University, dubbed the Safehaven branch. The program began in the 1990’s and was headed up by older gang members with the intention of getting at-risk and gang members off the streets.
The program serves affiliated or fully inducted gang members between the ages of 13-24 and is activ...

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...g in group settings, as the members are able to learn team work and problem solving amongst other people affiliated with different gangs and fostering a positive growing environment. For the most part, venues need to be a place wherein gang members will allow themselves to be comfortable and susceptible to learning. Places like Boys and Girls Clubs, community centers, or other places within the communities that they know and trust.
Overall, intervention methods with ongoing active gang members need to be implemented and researched much more than they currently are. As has been shown, gang suppression tactics do not work and law enforcement crackdowns do not work; instead the criminalization of gang members simply for being affiliated needs to be dealt with and providing social services and intervention programs targeted towards them rather than at-risk juveniles.

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