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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 67745 Find in a Library
Title: EAST LA'S (LOS ANGELES, CA) GANG PROJECT - PREVENTION OR BRIBERY?
Journal: CORRECTIONS MAGAZINE  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(JUNE 1980)  Pages:36-42
Author(s): D BERNSTEIN
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE GANG VIOLENCE REDUCTION PROJECT IN EAST LOS ANGELES IS VIEWED BY SOME AS A POSITIVE STEP TOWARD ELIMINATING GANG VIOLENCE AND BY OTHERS AS A METHOD OF LEGITIMIZING GANG ACTIVITIES.
Abstract: SOME LOCAL OFFICIALS ESTIMATE THAT THERE ARE AS MANY AS 250 GANGS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY, WITH 22,500 MEMBERS (MOSTLY CHICANOS) RANGING IN AGE FROM 13 TO 40. GANG VIOLENCE IS ALSO ON THE RISE, INCREASING 50 PERCENT FROM 1978 TO 1979. THE GANG VIOLENCE REDUCTION PROJECT COVERS AN 8-SQUARE MILE UNINCORPORATED AREA AND OPERATES OUT OF A SMALL OFFICE DESIGNATED NEUTRAL TERRITORY BY THE EIGHT GANGS THAT VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM. THESE GANGS, WHOSE COMBINED MEMBERSHIP EXCEEDS 2,500, WERE AMONG THE MOST VIOLENT IN THE CITY. THE 3-YEAR-OLD PROJECT IS ADMINISTERED BY THE CALIFORNIA YOUTH AUTHORITY (CYA) WITH GRANTS FROM LEAA. CYA PAROLE AGENTS SUPERVISE 14 HARD-CORE GANG LEADERS, OR 'CONSULTANTS', WHO ARE PAID $160 PER WEEK TO KEEP COMMUNICATIONS OPEN AMONG PROJECT GANGS; SETTLE DISPUTES; HELP FELLOW GANG MEMBERS FIND JOBS, RETURN TO SCHOOL, KEEP COURT DATES, AND EVEN ENROLL IN DRUG AND ALCOHOL REHABILITATION PROGRAMS, AND PLAN DIVERSIONARY ACTIVITIES. SUPPORTERS OF THE PROJECT POINT TO LOWERED VIOLENCE, LESS RECRUITMENT FOR NEW GANG MEMBERS BY ONE GANG, AND THE BUILDING OF A HANDBALL COURT BY GANG MEMBERS AS SIGNS OF PROJECT SUCCESS. GANG MEMBERS HAVE ALSO ORGANIZED CAMPING TRIPS AND OVERNIGHT FISHING TRIPS. CRITICS OF THE PROJECT, INFURIATED OVER THE POLICY OF PAYING GANG MEMBERS TO CONTROL THEIR MEMBERS, CALL FOR THE ABOLISHMENT OF ALL GANGS THROUGH MORE AND TOUGHER PRISON SENTENCES. THESE DETRACTORS CLAIM THAT GANG MEMBERS WILL USE THE MONEY FOR PERSONAL USE AND CONTINUE TO COMMIT CRIMES AND CAUSE VIOLENCE. PROJECT STAFF CONCEDE THAT CONSULTANTS MAY HAVE PRISON RECORDS, BUT ARGUE THAT THESE LEADERS ARE ABLE TO WIELD INFLUENCE AND COMMAND THE RESPECT OF THEIR MEMBERS. PROJECT STAFF INIST THAT THE WAY TO REDUCE GANG VIOLENCE IS BY WORKING FROM THE INSIDE OUT, BY PROMOTING THE USE OF GANGS AS A FORM OF COMMUNITY. MOST PROBLEMATIC TO THE PROJECT IS THE MENACING THREAT OF LOSING FUNDING THROUGH TAX CUTS.
Index Term(s): California; Collective violence; Community involvement; Community support; Crime Control Programs; Gangs; Incentive systems; Mexican Americans; Police attitudes
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67745

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