Today, fighting back against juvenile gangs proves to be a strenuous task in which it takes willful individuals to stand up to. The G.R.E.A.T program or Gang Resistance Education and Training Program, established in 1991 appears to be one the most effective ways to deter delinquents against gangs (Lab & Whitehead, 133). In researching, a lot of charismatic officers welcome the program with open arms and also actively participate in them. With youth observing and participating in these programs, it assures them that more than just family members, parents and guardians care about their well-being and social inclines. This program can reach out to young adults as well as current gang members looking to turn their lives around or keep themselves on a straight and narrow path. The G.R.E.A.T. program consists of 5 sections intertwined to combat unlawful behaviors from juveniles: Public, Law Enforcement, Students, Educators and Parents/Guardians. (G.R.E.A.T Program, web)
Another tactic to combat juvenile gang affiliations is the Boston Gun Project or also known as Operation Ceasefire. This project started up around 1996 in Boston, Massachusetts which focused in on youth and the unlawful uses of firearms. (Wikipedia) This is where law enforcement got involved in heavily charging juvenile gang members with the simplest of gun crimes. Charges such as a simple possession of a firearm meant that the criminal could do some serious time. With this program implemented, there were noted significant reductions in pistol violations by gang members alone. (Lab & Whitehead, 133). Essentially, what the Gun Project does is label and target low-income, low-class, poverty stricken, uneducated youths to try to deter and segregate them from the high crime areas by hanging their prior convictions and near-miss brushes with the law against them. This can also fall under the term of Civil Gang Injunctions (Lab & Whitehead, 132). Police officials do this in an effort to use a scare-tactic and prevent gang association, if you will, to get them to do right or risk future jail time with convictions. (YouTube-Filmore Gang Injunctions) This tactic however has been proven to serve as a roller-coaster effect to those labeled within the gang injunctions. Moreover, those who are those alike, who attended the same schools and grew up together within the same neighborhoods also “deem” it unsatisfactory.
The Beyond Scared Straight TV series is a program that has been proven effective. As young delinquents who appear tough and wayward on the streets form contact with real juveniles and inmates on the inside of prison cells, they are then accessed and given a second opportunity to clean up their acts before falling victim to the criminal system themselves.
Drug Treatment & Prevention Programs
Since gangs are stemmed by influences from other peers, it is safe to say that drugs are a major distributing factor around gang associations. Drugs undoubtedly affect a person’s mental capacity and judgement. An assessment conducted in 2012 suggested that 170,000+ juveniles were arrested for drug offenses in the United States alone. (Lab & Whitehead, 146). There are many drug treatment programs and drug rehab facilities that have been effective for youth. Perhaps that is how gangs enlarge their territories and recruit due to similar interests in abusing drugs and alcohol at such young ages. Maintenance programs assist in aiding a struggling individual battling with addictions they can not help themselves with.
The D.A.R.E. Program started in Los Angeles around the 1980s was a widely talked about drug program influencing youth to steer from drugs. The term stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Basically, it was a program reinforcing teens to stay off drugs by having them sign a promissory document with their refusal to get involved in drugs and paraphernalia. Since then, the program has declined drastically and has been labeled ineffective. However, it is up to the community, police officials, school teachers, parents and friends to come together collectively and consistently educate our young children against drug use and addictions.