Anti-gang legislation and police crackdowns are failing so badly that they are strengthening the criminal organizations and making U.S. cities more dangerous, according to a report being released Wednesday.
Mass arrests, stiff prison sentences often served with other gang members and other strategies that focus on law enforcement rather than intervention actually strengthen gang ties and further marginalize angry young men, according to the Justice Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank that advocates alternatives to incarceration.
I had read this article this morning before I went to a meeting (Avon Township Youth Advisory Board) at which we talked about the community problems of underage drinking and the use of other drugs by youths and a similar point was made there. None of these social/societal problems can be remedied by only using a single pronged “tool”, i.e. law enforcement, even with stiffer and stiffer penalties.
All of these problems (which would include violence and some others) must be “attacked” at multiple levels and using multiple “tools”. Parents and family must participate at the level at which they can and they probably will need help knowing what to do and how to do it. The schools will have a role, as will the community more generally. Public policy must be such that it will have a real impact, necessitating changes, embellishments and additions, based on tested and proven records. The faith community will have a role and on and on.
Just as so many are working in various locales; we will continue our work and come up with some concrete actions to accomplish our goals. I look forward to the efforts and its results.