Gang Treatment Programs
Gang Treatment Programs
The issue of gangs is significant in the society in the past two decades. During the period, the number of cities with reported gang problems and members has increased significantly. For example, the number of gang members has increased more than seven times while gangs have increased more than ten times. However, during the last decade, survey suggests that the number of jurisdictions with active gangs slightly decreased from 50 to 51 %. Evaluation of gangs programs and strategies facilitate this effort; however, it is a complex understanding by stakeholders. As a result, the government and vulnerable communities have developed elaborate gang treatment strategies that involve preventive, intervention and suppression programs to cub the rising number of gang activities.
The history of gang treatment programs in the U.S focused on preventive measures. The programs are deterrent and interruptive on gang formation. The approach uses a number of strategies such as community organizations, early childhood programs, school based programs and local clubs and after school programs to improve conditions of the youth (Florence, 2008). Community organizations, such as the Chicago Area Project, use the social disorganization theories to prevent crime in society. Such programs faction as human support systems based on participatory models of decision making, conflict resolution platforms, spiritual and ideological platforms. As a result, they enable vulnerable individuals in society to develop self-identity, life skills such as leadership and time management techniques (Thornberry, 2003).
Other programs such as early childhood programs, school based programs, local clubs and after school programs aim at tailoring positive behavior at risk stage. For example, between age 10 and 12, children are vulnerable since they seek self-identity and are likely to affiliate with role models. The program targets boys of low socioeconomic status with disruptive, antisocial characteristics in kindergarten and grade school. Additionally, the programs focus on parenting to ensure that vulnerable children receive mentorship at home. Lastly, school based programs aim at enriching procedures and learning experience meaningful, effective, and enjoyable for children (Florence, 2008).
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Intervention programs aim at reducing criminal activities of gangs by coaxing youth from antisocial activities. Secondly, they provide alternative opportunities for youths and rehabilitative measures. For example, a significant approach in preventive programs, at the community level, focuses on detached worker programs, which aim at transforming gangs into pro-social groups. For example, the Boston Detached Worker Programs consists of three initiatives, which are community organizations, family service, and gang work. After some years, the program incorporated crisis intervention where members would visit hot spots of gang activities (Thornberry, 2003).
Another gang intervention program is the Violence-Free Zone initiative. The idea behind the initiative is that failure in social structures such as the family is a risk factor for gang involvement and destructive behavior. For example, most gang members families lack a father or a mother. Most valuable children come from fatherless homes where the mothers struggle to meet basic needs. As a result, such parents work at more than two jobs; making them unavailable for guidance to children. Violence-Free Zone initiatives focus on mentorship. Additionally, the programs provide job training and opportunities to lure vulnerable youths into a positive life (Department of justice, 2000).
Suppression programs use the legal systems to deter crime in society. For example, the approach uses the police, prosecution, and incarceration. An example of the program is the 1979 Operation Hardcore in Los Angeles. It was the first prosecution program to target gang-related offenses (Department of justice, 2000). It aims at vertical prosecution, reducing caseloads, conducting additional investigation and resources allocation to victims. Currently, law enforcement agencies apply a number of efforts such as surveillance, stakeouts, aggressive patrol and arrest, follow-up investigations, intelligence gathering in conjunction with communities to suppress gang activities. As a result of parens paterae doctrine, the legal systems have a number of alternatives that focus on rehabilitation. For example, the police department has developed community-oriented strategies that focus on council, job development and referrals, and tutorial to support rehabilitated youths (Thornberry, 2003).
Prosecution focuses on conviction and incarceration of gang members. However, today, the approach takes a vertical approach, where a prosecutor follows a case from the start to the end. Additionally, a number of probation and parole units have implemented council programs, employment training, remedial education and alternative school arrangements, and residential care. Finally, traditional suppression is still in most prisons. For example, prisons use swift reaction and forceful prevention of gang activities through lockups and transfer of gang leaders to different prisons. A comprehensive Suppression program should aim at developing youth correctional situations for close coordination with law enforcement and community-based agencies, and batter communication between corrections officers and inmates (Florence, 2008).
In conclusion, gang control is a significant issue in the society in the past two decades. During the period, the number of cities with gang problems and members has increased significantly. The history of gang treatment programs in the U.S focus on preventive measures. Even though the law enforcement agencies focus on the traditional correctional programs they should also consider strategies such as community organizations and early childhood programs to mentor and rehabilitate.