Juvenile Justice

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Gang info – Nat’l Crime Prevention Council

Why: Provides protection, sense of belonging, basic needs, fun/excitement, peer pressure, financial gain, drugs, family tradition, lack of understanding what being in a gang means, neighborhood norm, power/prestige

Who: 12-24yrs old (nat’l average), mostly males (female membership on the rise), all ethnic groups and income levels represented, living in high gang involvement area, lack positive support system in the home, lack of alternative activities in the community, no positive role models, low self-esteem, poor decision making and communication skills, too much unsupervised free time, poor school achievement, lack of respect for authority, negative parent-child relationships, family members who are gang members

Possible Signs: wearing clothing of one color or style, change of appearance with hair, tattoos, eyebrow marking, flashing signs, gang graffiti on possessions, attitude change regarding school, family, authorities, staying out later than usual, carrying weapons, withdrawing from family activities, changing friends, unexplained money or possessions

What can parents do: explain only a small percentage of youth join gangs, help them understand the consequences of gang activity, maintain strong family, school, community connections, be a positive role model, praise and encourage children, know friends and parents, be involved in school by communicating with teachers and PTA/PTO, have a curfew, don’t allow them to dress in gang colors or draw signs, know where the children are, provide activities, teach kids to set goals, have high standards

What can schools do: ID at risk students and students already involved, encourage participation in extra-curricular activities, don’t allow kids to wear gang related clothing or accessories, no flashing signs, remove any graffiti after documentation, work with parents to determine when intervention is needed, present gang and drug prevention programs, promote after school programs, communicate school activities to parents, provide opportunities for parents to be involved

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