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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149058 Find in a Library
Title: He Begged that Gang Violence End with His Death
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:23  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1959)  Pages:24-30
Author(s): E Zinn
Date Published: 1959
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Document: PDF
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article praises the role of Father Harold J. Rahm and his "aggressive social work" in ending gang warfare in El Paso's notorious second ward.
Abstract: Father Rahm came to El Paso in July 1952 as a young Jesuit priest and assistant pastor to the Sacred Heart Church. Faced with the problems of juvenile delinquency and hopelessness in his parish, he established Our Lady's Youth Center, which offered athletic activities and nightly entertainment to juveniles. The center also became a haven for juvenile gangs who brought drugs, lawlessness, and gang warfare. Despite Father Rahm's efforts of easing the tensions among the different gangs and giving them a sense of purpose, one of the gang members, Humberto, was stabbed to death in 1957. With his dying breath he asked forgiveness for his killers, the members of a rival gang. This event became a turning point. Gang warfare was stamped out when Father Rahm founded the Night Court, a council which seats members from each gang and a revolving teenage judge. The gang boys submit their problems to this court for arbitration. The court not only suggests solutions; it also pronounces expulsions from the center, head shaving, and other punishments. Individual boys settle their differences by confronting each other in a public fight. Even the police department has acknowledged that with more men like Father Rahm, there would be less need for detention homes.
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention programs; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Youth centers
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