Youth Gang Programs and Strategiesby U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, James C. Howell, National Youth Gang Center
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The growth of youth gang violence and the proliferation of youth gangs into smaller cities and rural areas in recent years have focused public attention on the youth gang problem and made it an increasingly significant social policy issue. The public’s concern is understandable, with more than 800,000 gang members active in over 3,000 gangs according to the latest National Youth Gang Survey. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) shares this concern and is addressing it on several fronts, in particular, through OJJDP’s National Youth Gang Center. Youth Gang Programs and Strategies draws on more than a half-century of gang program evaluations to summarize what we have learned about:
- Prevention programs (including early childhood, school-based, and afterschool initiatives).
- Intervention programs (including those that work to create violence-free zones, establish gang summits and truces, and rehabilitate gang members in juvenile detention and correctional facilities).
- Suppression programs (including those focused on prosecution, police response, and geomapping and other tracking systems).
- Strategies using multiple techniques (such as community policing).
- Multiagency initiatives (including local, State, and Federal efforts).
- Comprehensive approaches to gang problems (such as the Comprehensive Community-Wide Approach to Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression).
- Legislation (at the local, State, and Federal levels).
This Summary also describes an OJJDP-sponsored nationwide assessment of youth gang prevention, intervention, and suppression programs; debunks prevalent stereotypes surrounding youth gang members; and provides research-based recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of youth gang programs and strategies.
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