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ERIC Number: ED532381
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 159
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-6224-8
ISSN: N/A
Assessing School-Based Gang Prevention Efforts in Urban Centers: Are These Programs Reaching Those Students Who May Benefit the Most?
Rodriguez, Hector
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
In recent years, schools have become a focal point for general delinquency and gang prevention programs for a variety of reasons. One premise behind this approach is that schools can serve as ideal settings for providing delinquency and intervention services because youths spend so much time there. School-based gang prevention efforts are supposed to include if not target juveniles demonstrating certain risk factors in an attempt to immunize them from gangs before they join. A number of school-based programs are universal in the sense that they attempt to serve all students at a particular site. In other cases, school-based programs specifically target youths demonstrating these risk factors early on so that involvement in gang association and subsequent criminal activity can be avoided. The Gang Resistance and Education Training program (GREAT) and the LA Bridges program are two gang prevention programs fitting the former category that have received considerable attention in recent years. How effective have these programs been? Two studies on the GREAT program reported small but positive effects on participants' attitude as well as their ability to resist peer pressure. Another evaluation found that changes in delinquency measures resulting from the program failed to approach any sense of statistical significance. More recently, the Los Angeles Times reported that the LA Bridges program lacks a system for determining whether its efforts are helping to reduce the gang participation. An important consideration in the overall assessment should be whether these preventive efforts are focusing on the youths who demonstrate any evidence of established risk factors for joining gangs. The purpose of this study is to evaluate two aforementioned gang prevention programs operating within the Los Angeles Unified School District with the specific intent of assessing whether or not they are targeting "at risk" youths that could most benefit from these types of prevention efforts. Although research has not advanced to the extent that we can accurately predict which youths will join gangs, studies have identified a handful of risk factors shown to increase the likelihood for gang joining. For the purposes of this study, a risk factor for joining gangs is any characteristic that serves as a predictor of gang membership. This study attempts to build upon the work of noted gang researcher Malcolm Klein from the University of Southern California who proposes that effective gang prevention programs require an accurate understanding of the predictors of gang membership. The central issue in this dissertation is whether the gang prevention strategies currently in place throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District are targeting likely future gang members. The premise here being that accurate assessments of the effectiveness of any gang prevention effort must begin by measuring the impact the treatment has on kids who are truly at risk. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California