"Understanding And Responding To Youth Gangs: A Juvenile Corrections Approach"

913 words - 4 pages

"Understanding and Responding to Youth Gangs: A Juvenile Corrections Approach"Youth gangs are very attractive to youths in the inner-cities of America. These gangs are usually very corrupt and violent. What many people do not realize is that these gangs are having a large impact on not only the youth of America, but this country in general. A youth gang is a group of adolescents, primarily twelve to eighteen years old, whose members describe themselves by a single group name and are recognized by society through this name. They usually involve themselves in organized crime which includes such acts as drug dealing, murder, and rape. Their acts receive negative publicity from society, and law enforcement agencies. Other characteristics of a gang include a formal leader, initiation requirements for all prospective gang members, its own slang, symbol and "territory." There are three primary types of youth gangs: territory gangs, who protect a common ground; organized gangs, who primarily deal drugs; and scavenger gangs who have a common goal in mind ("Gangs"). According to a national law enforcement study conducted in 1996 by G.D. Curry for the National Youth Gang Center, the ethnicity of gang members is estimated at 48 % African-American; 43% Hispanic; 5% Caucasian; and 4% Asian.Why youths join gangs is discussed frequently in the world of psychology. Reasons youths become gang members include: lack of positive role models; low self-esteem; physical safety and/or security; peer relations; sense of identity; increased status; opportunities for excitement; and making money fast, especially by selling drugs. When a youth does get in a gang, they do not realize they are not an individual anymore. By gaining acceptance into a gang, the youth now becomes a "gangster." There is no difference between men joining than women; both are looking for the same kind of "family" feeling. They need to feel that they are a part of something in order to fit in. That is why they wear gang colors, speak in the terms of the gang, are forced not to "like" other gangs (even if they have friends in them) and partake in gang activities. Many youths will state that they will not give into the peer pressure of the gang and will abide by the rules set forth by law agencies. What they do not realize is one of the hardest things in this world is being an individual in a group. Telling twenty people that killing someone is wrong is harder to accomplish then anyone may think. Being an individual in a group is very difficult as the individual is prone to adopting the group ideas and beliefs as their own. Even more difficult is trying to change the whole group's ideas and beliefs....

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