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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149082 Find in a Library
Title: Lives in Hazard
Editor(s): J Oppenheim
Project Director: A Young; S Todd
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 0
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance
Washington, DC 20531
Olmos Productions, Inc
Encino, CA 91316
Grant Number: 92-DD-CX-0007
Sale Source: Olmos Productions, Inc
18034 Ventura Blvd
Suite 288
Encino, CA 91316
United States of America
Type: Citizen Involvement Material
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This video uses the occasion of the making of the feature film "American Me," a dramatization of gang life in East Los Angeles, to examine the real life experiences and outlooks of the actual gang members who acted in the film.
Abstract: Many of the gang members who acted in the film lived in Hazard, a poor, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Much of the film was made on location in Hazard, which required that rival gangs cooperate in the making of the movie. This video is a documentary on the making of the film and the lives of the Hazard residents who participated in the film. Comments by gang members confirm the reality of what the film portrays. Injuries and deaths from drive-by shootings by rival gang members are regular occurrences. Edward James Olmos, the narrator of the video and the director of "American Me," notes that every gang member has a gun and relishes the adventure and excitement of impulsive, random shootings of people they don't know. The video intersperses the film dramatizations with gang members' comments about their life in Hazard. They speak sadly of friends who have been killed and fondly of loyalties and friendships cultivated in the gang, which they view as like a family to them. Gang-member comments portray growing up in a poor neighborhood where gang life and dealing drugs is the only way to establish identity and gain material possessions. The film "American Me" includes segments on location in Folsom Prison, where most inmates have been sentenced for violent crimes, and many will never get out of prison. Comments by inmates and prison guards reveal the dangers and hopelessness of prison life, where inmates accustomed to resolving conflict with violence often kill one another. For many who live in Hazard, prison is anticipated as an inevitable aspect of gang life, even a badge of honor. Among the comments of some gang members, however, is the longing for a different kind of life based in education and satisfying legitimate work. Olmos the narrator advises that gang members must be exposed to an alternative lifestyle and realistic opportunities for a better way. Gang members, in turn, must decide to commit to such opportunities and turn away from violence and drug dealing.
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): California; Correctional facilities; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Prison conditions; Prison Gangs/Security Threat Groups; Violent juvenile offenders
Note: Color VHS video, 60 mins.
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