Goals and Objectives: The purpose of this study is to examine (1) the relationship between placement in a juvenile residential facility and gang involvement; and (2) the relationship between gang involvement and victimization in juvenile justice residential facilities.
Study Sample: Data are drawn from the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP), a cross-sectional survey of a nationally representative sample of 7,073 youth in custody in 2003. In this sample, the unweighted prevalence of gang membership prior to confinement (at the time of the offense) is approximately 30 percent, while the unweighted prevalence of gang involvement in the residential facility is 21.5 percent. More than half of the sample reported at least one form of victimization while in custody (theft, robbery, physical assault, or sexual assault).
Research Design and Methods: Given the disparate number of gang-involved youth in the community setting (prior to residential placement) and during incarceration, research is needed to understand these changes in gang involvement. This study will explore what individual and facility characteristics are related to different patterns of gang involvement (i.e., desistance from gang involvement upon placement, new involvement upon placement, and continued involvement across both settings). In addition, this study will explore the relationship between these patterns of gang involvement and victimization among youth in custody. The goal of these analyses is to determine whether gang involvement is indeed a risk factor for victimization in residential placement, as is seen in community samples, or whether it serves as a protective factor, as youth often believe.
Products and Reports: The results of this work will be pertinent to public policy and juvenile justice practice and will result in at least one manuscript, which will be submitted to a high-quality academic journal for publication. The broad dissemination plan also involves presenting the findings at both academic and practitioner-oriented conferences and dissemination by the National Gang Center through its newsletters and research bulletins.
This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.