Arise Gang Prevention Program Thesis

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¶ … Gang Prevention Program

"Gangs contain bright boys who do well, bright boys who do less well, and dull boys who pass, dull boys who fail, and illiterates"

(Garabedian & . Gibbons, 2005, p. 26).

In regard to gangs, one never knows what may happen. In the article, "Gang grief: violence wounds teens and communities," Melissa Klein (2009) reports that Chantelle S., a 15-year-old from New York City relates that at times, students become fearful of what may happen when fights break out between rival groups in her high school. These fight lead to lockdowns with increased security in the school. Chantelle said: "It's kind of scary because you never know what can happen" (Chantelle, as cited in Klein, ¶ 1). During this paper, the researcher examines the ARISE Gang Prevention Program, one contemporary method of gang prevention, which confronts some of the scary concerns gangs embellish, and investigates the theoretical causes of the program, focusing on Social Disorganization theory.

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To help empower youth to resist the powerful pull of gangs, ARISE, a nonprofit foundation, established in 1986 by Susan and Edmund Benson, provides powerful prevention tools to help youth resist becoming involved in gangs. Mike Meacham, Forensic Social Worker at Valdosta State University, and Tony Stokes, co-author (2008), assert that youth join gangs for a myriad of reasons. In the article, "The life development of gang members: Interventions at various stages," Meacham and Stokes (2008) explain that when middle and secondary school youth enter puberty and are working through adolescence, they may likely be seduced by the lure of gang membership. As these youth, at risk for gangs, experience strong conflicting needs of independence and of belonging, they may need help to equip them to know how to make healthy choices in their lives; to resist the lure of gang involvement.

Statement of the Problem

Thesis on Arise Gang Prevention Program Assignment

The Bloods, one the leading gangs in the U.S., founded in Los Angeles, Klein (2009) explains, are enemies of the Crips, another L.A.-based gang. At the age of 14, at the enticement of her cousins, members of the Bloods at that time, Jon Amosa, a Seattle teen, joined a local chapter of the Bloods. For her initiation rite, other gang member "jumped" or beat Amosa in. Once in the Bloods, Amosa began to beat up members of rival gangs. Amosa said: "Whatever my 'big homey,' or the older guy, whatever they told me to do, I'd go do it, no questions asked (Amosa, as cited in Klein, ¶ 2). Along with regularly fighting, Amosa sold and abused illegal drugs. Amosa left the gang after becoming more involved in his church.

Amosa, who was 18 in 2008, said that even though Rap stars regularly brag about being a "gangsta" or thug, being in a game is not cool. "I've lost a lot of friends to gang violence, a lot of family members too," Amosa says. "Really, it's not worth it" (Amosa, as cited in Klein, ¶ 3). When Amosa became more involved in his church, he left the Bloods. Klein reports that during an eight-month period in 2007, gang violence claimed the lives of six teens in the Seattle area. An undetermined number of youth were injured during this same period. Gang violence may affect entire communities, not just the individuals involved in gangs. Other gang related incidents across the U.S. include the following:

1. Officials in Hartford. Connecticut a curfew for teens after 11 people were shot during a bloody weekend. The victims of shootings, believed to be gang-related, included a

7-year-old boy,

2. After gang member was ordered to fire at the house where a 2-year-old girl. was staying with her grandparents, according to court testimony, the Kansas City, Kansas

teen was sentenced to life in prison for the child's murder.

3. In Nyack, New York, north of New York City, a gang brawl erupted when a high school student yanked a rival gang colored bandana off the neck of another student.

4. Although the most severe gang activity occurs in larger cities such as Chicago, Los

Angeles, and New York, gang activity also occurs in suburbs and small town, James

C. Howell, senior research associate at the National Youth Gang Center, reports

5. The 2006 National Youth Gang Survey reveals that a total of 785,000 members belong to the approximately 26,500 youth gangs exist in the United States. Studies find that in large urban areas, gang members conduct a large share of the violent crimes teens commit. During 1998 in Seattle, gang members committed 85% of the robberies by teens.

6. One study reports that 8% of 12- to 17-year-olds joined a gang during their middle or high school years. In 2005, approximately 25% of students reported the existence of gangs in their schools, a rise of 8% from 1999. Gang members do not only include boys. According to experts, females make up approximately 33% of gang members.

History

A number or anthropologists, according to Meacham and Stokes (2008) purport that gangs have plagued societies since ancient times, with gangs on the American scene since early in its history. The first gangs included: "The Forty Thieves,' founded about 1826…. Thrasher… studied over 1300 gangs in Chicago during the 1920s, and although most of these gangs were Caucasian, the majority became prominent in groups considered white-immigrant minorities (e.g., Irish, Italian)" (Meacham and Stokes, ¶ 1). Organized non-Caucasian groups surfaced by the 1940s; by the 1950s, Hollywood started producing movies about gangs, including "The Wild One" and in 1961, the film "West Side Story." In 1963, David Wilkinson published the story of the 1950s gang, the Mau Maus, and its leader, Nicky Cruz. Wilkinson later founded the "Nicky Cruz Outreach" to reach out to help troubled teenagers. Gang membership reportedly skyrocketed during the 1960s. The Bloods and the Crips had organized by the 1970s.

Presently, as in the past, a number of gangs formed in response to oppression and social ostracism. Although some early gangs and a number of contemporary gangs developed as a response to social injustice, and to counter denial of access to resources, some gangs form as a means to illegally gain wealth. The business side of the gang, Meacham and Stokes (2008) assert, "becomes at least as important as any reaction to oppression, which may have been the original reason for the formation of the gang and the method by which it drew members" (¶ 2). By the 1980s, gangs were recognized as more than a group of troubled youths riding motorcycles.

Gangs routinely formed and grew as social and economic entities. "Colors, hand-signs, particular clothing, street graffiti, and tattoos were among the many identifiers. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, service agencies had become involved" (Meacham and Stokes, 2008, ¶ 3). By this time, social scientists, such as Cummings and Monti had begun to intently study gangs. Meacham and Stokes report that many Americans believe that gangs and their memberships only occur in middle and secondary schools. They think that when members become young adulthood, they may remain in the gang for a while, but they eventually either drop out of the gang or are drive out.

The recruitment and development of gang members, albeit, may challenge prevailing myths and advocate interventions. Differences exist among gangs and may include:

Gangs that wish specifically to defend an area such as a neighborhood, gangs that seek friendship and excitement, and gangs whose members have become international criminals in drug trafficking and other illegal activity. (Meacham and Stokes, 2008, ¶ 6)

As people become gang members for various reasons, they also choose to become involved at different times in their lives; the task of prevention proves complicated. Who Affected

Arthur Lurigio, professor of psychology and criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago, asserts that when teens join a gang, they increase their prospects to become involved in criminal activity. A teen in a gang will more likely be committing every type of crime. he/she will more likely carry a weapon, as well as more likely drop out of school (Klein, 2008). Consequently, others in the community are negatively affected by gang activities.

To counter gang activity that appears to be out of control in many major cities across the U.S., some law enforcement agencies report that they use whatever means necessary to locate and control gang members and activity; even the internet. Scott Gutierrez (2006), a P-I Reporter, contends in the article, "Street gangs using Internet for violent bragging rights": In the past, gangs typically only roved the streets of big cities. Now, however, the FBI reports that gangs may be found in 2,500 U.S. communities. "Police departments suddenly faced with the unwelcome arrivals are looking for help anywhere they can get it, including the gangs' own easy-to-find Web sites" (Gutierrez, 2006, ¶ 14). Some gang members bold brag about their gang activity on social Web sites such as MySpace or Facebook. As a result of some gang members' postings, after connecting the members to crimes, a number of detectives have… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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