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July 19, 2007

New report assailing various tough-on-gangs efforts

According to this New York Times editorial, a new report by the Justice Policy Institute "shows that police dragnets that criminalize whole communities and land large numbers of nonviolent children in jail don't reduce gang involvement or gang violence."  The report, which TalkLeft also discusses here, is entitled "Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies," and can be accessed at this link.

JPI has this press release about this new report, and here are snippet:

A groundbreaking new report released today by the Justice Policy Institute argues that the billions of dollars spent on traditional gang suppression activities have failed to promote public safety and are often counterproductive. The report is released as lawmakers consider legislation to stiffen penalties for gang-related crime and increase funding for gang suppression.

Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies, written by Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, undertakes an extensive review of the research literature on gangs to clarify persistent misconceptions and examine the effectiveness of common gang control strategies.  According to the report, in cities like Los Angeles where gang activity is most prevalent, more police, more prisons and more punitive measures haven’t stopped the cycle of gang violence. Most surprising are conclusions that gangs are responsible for a relatively small share of crime; gang activity has not grown in the U.S.; whites make up a large — if largely invisible — proportion of gang members; most gang-involved youth quit before reaching adulthood; and heavy-handed suppression tactics can increase gang cohesion while failing to reduce violence.

July 19, 2007 at 12:25 PM | Permalink


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Sorry to sound like a broken record on this subject, but why does the NYT have any credibility at all? Seriously, why?

Posted by: William Jockusch | Jul 19, 2007 2:59:55 PM

How is this in any way noteworthy? The Justice Policy Institute, which, according to its web site, is "dedicated to ending society's reliance on incarceration," issues a report that -- surprise! -- criticizes incarceration. The NYT editorial board, which has never met a prison term it approves of, cites the report as proof that their favored policies are preferable. And now this blog, which similarly criticizes overreliance on incarceration, cites the NYT editorial board. Talk about an echo chamber...

Posted by: bill | Jul 20, 2007 6:10:03 PM

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