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Gang Membership Prevention - Panel at the 2010 NIJ Conference

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2010
2 pages
This is the audio and transcript of presentations of a panel at the 2010 NIJ Conference that addressed the prevention of and desistance from gang membership, with attention to the contents of a comprehensive book on gang prevention to which the presenters are contributing.

James Buddy Howell - Senior Research Associate, National Youth Gang Center - is working on the introductory chapter for the book. His goal in this effort is to explain why gang membership is a problem and what's being done about it, as well as why it is so difficult to mount a systematic, comprehensive gang prevention project. In his presentation, he describes a framework for engaging communities in gang prevention by empowering them to assess and effectively address their particular gang problem. Jorja Leap - Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Welfare, School of Public Affairs , University of California, Los Angeles - discusses what she has learned in conducting evaluations of gang prevention programs. In the forthcoming book on gang prevention, she is writing a chapter on her findings. After discussing the importance of agreeing on definitions related to gang life and prevention, particularly in conversations between criminal justice and public health policymakers and practitioners, she profiles a "pyramid" of gang prevention. The pyramid consists of "primary prevention," which focuses on decreasing risk factors and increasing protective factors that will prevent a youth from joining a gang, and "secondary prevention," which involves strategies for early intervention for specific youth who have recently joined gangs or are at high risk of doing so. She then reports on what has been learned from her evaluations of gang prevention efforts, with attention to specific risk and protective factors

Date Published: June 1, 2010