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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148492 Find in a Library
Title: Why Join a Gang? An Adolescent Perspective and Implications for Recreation Services
Author(s): G W Manson
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 36
Document: PDF
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines why a juvenile might join a gang and the implications of the findings for recreation services for juveniles.
Abstract: The report first presents a brief history of youth gangs up to the present. Youth gangs are traced back to the Middle Ages in Europe. In North America, youth gangs were identified in some American urban centers. Frederic Thrasher studied youth gangs in Chicago in 1919. Since the 1920's, there have been many studies of youth gangs that rely on several theories of delinquency, including social disorganization, strain theory, social control, and cultural or value conflict. A review of gang definitions advises that a youth gang is "any cohesive group of adolescents who have a controlling set of norms and a social system specific to that group. The delinquent gang is distinguished from other juvenile groups on the basis of the delinquent product of gang interaction." A discussion of some of the reasons youths join gangs notes that lack of ties with constructive institutions, not low self-esteem, is a primary factor in a juvenile's seeking identification with delinquent peers. Major changes in the structure of the family and the changing role of women regarding work and career have also influenced youth to seek affiliation with gangs for companionship, acceptance, and leisure time activities. The author advises that recreational services can play a key role in helping prevent delinquent gang behavior. Some suggestions are that any leisure delivery system for youth increase the amount of collaboration and direct link-ups among agencies and groups that are providing recreational and other services for youth. Also, youth-serving agencies, particularly those with a strong recreation mandate must become more proactive. Recreation agencies should not supplant family responsibilities, but complement them by providing staff and volunteer role models who are trained and knowledgeable about youth and youth-related issues. 54 references
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Gang Prevention; Gangs; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Recreation
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