Readers should note, however, the recurrent challenges in the field of gang research. Several eminent gang researchers (e.g., Klein and Maxson, 2006; Esbensen, 2004; Reed and Decker, 2002) have observed that gang projects, programs and strategies have been, and continue to be, rarely evaluated.
Dating as far back as the pioneering work of Frederic Thrasher (1927), there is now over seventy-five years of accumulated research knowledge pertaining to youth gangs. Montréal: International Centre for the Prevention of Crime.
This report relies, in large part, on the comprehensive reviews that have been conducted by others in recent years. Klein and Cheryl Maxson (2006) was particularly useful as it offered a thorough, up-to-date review of current literature and practice.
There is a growing recognition that not only do correctional institutions rarely rehabilitate, they also tend to further criminalize individuals, often leading to re-offending and a vicious cycle of release and imprisonment (United Nations, 2006). The OJJDP (or “Spergel”) model includes five key strategies for dealing with gang-involved youth and their communities (Burch and Kane, 1999; Wyrick, 2005): as follows using arrest history data: “...program youth reduced their levels of total violence arrests, serious violence arrests, and drug arrests significantly more than did comparison youth and quasiprogram youth during the program period compared to the preprogram period. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. Reducing Gun Violence: The Boston Gun Project's Operation Ceasefire. C.: National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U. A Guide to Assessing Your Community's Youth Gang Problem.
In fact, several research studies suggest that youth gang members are considerably more likely to be re-arrested and re-incarcerated following their release from custody than non-gang members (Benda and Tollett, 1999; Tollett and Benda, 1999; Benda et al., 2001; Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections Research and Development and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 2002 – cited in Olson et al., 2004). The reduction of serious violence arrests was more than 60 percent greater for program than for comparison seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds – the highest-rate offenders in that age group – controlling for other variables in the equation. Alive at 25: Reducing Youth Violence Through Monitoring and Support. Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (2002).
One popular example is as follows: a youth gang is “any durable, street-oriented youth group whose involvement in illegal activity is part of its group identity” (Klein and Maxson, 2006: 4).
The response to youth gang problems in the United States and elsewhere, particularly over the past three decades, has produced three primary strategies: prevention, intervention and suppression. “Creating Comprehensive and Collaborative Systems.” Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol. Furthermore, as stated earlier, the majority of these responses have not been rigorously evaluated. program educated young people on the consequences of gang involvement and had modest positive effects on their attitudes toward the police, it failed to reduce youth gang membership or future delinquent behaviour (Esbensen, 2004). Despite the various limitations and challenges that have been identified, there are many lessons learned for those considering replicating this model. Irving Spergel and his colleagues at the University of Chicago collected and analyzed the policies and practices of agencies throughout the United States involved in combating gangs (Spergel et al., 2003). For these and other reasons, the following are provided as selected examples of promising approaches that contain elements of good practice, as well as those approaches that appear not to work so well. program consists of four components: an elementary school curriculum; a middle school curriculum; family training; and, a summer program. Klein and Maxson (2006: 101) contend that four basic factors explain the failure of the G. From this work, Spergel developed a comprehensive model program to reduce and prevent gang crime and violence. The present document focuses mainly on substantive and practice-oriented, rather than methodological and theoretical, issues. Notwithstanding, it is important for the reader to be aware of some of the current definitional issues associated with the study of youth gangs. They also want to know that the interventions they are supporting will produce more positive benefits than harmful side effects. Despite the fact that gang suppression is probably the best known and most practiced strategy in response to youth gang problems, it is generally regarded as less effective than many prevention and intervention approaches (Decker, 2007). This model program was implemented and tested in 5 sites across the United States: Bloomington-Normal, Illinois; Mesa, Arizona; Riverside, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Tucson, Arizona. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2002). As with suppression, incarceration alone does not work. is an example of primary prevention whereby the program is presented to entire classrooms without attempting to target active youth gang members or those youth who are at greatest risk for joining gangs. According to Wyrick (2005, 2007), the OJJDP has implemented this model in over 25 urban and rural locations since 1995. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2002). C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U. A vast body of work was identified and over 300 scholarly journal articles, government reports, and books published between January 1st, 1986, and April 30th, 2007, were reviewed for possible inclusion in the literature review. The final selection, comprised of over 35 sources, primarily included those that focused on evaluation results and attempted to ascertain the effectiveness of gang prevention, intervention and suppression programs, policies and strategies. Investing in Youth: International Approaches to Preventing Crime and Victimization. Where this high-quality research evidence was lacking, promising practices and lessons learned were also distilled and presented alongside model programs. Chicago, Illinois: School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago. It is hoped that the findings will, among other things, inform and strengthen future policy development, funding and program decision-making in Canada as well as enhance our knowledge and understanding with respect to how to respond effectively to chronic and emerging youth gang problems.