Gang Injunction - Incarceration of Youth

Incarceration of Youth

The functionality of gang injunctions, particular when coupled with racial-profiling, has been said to over-criminalize youth. Youth who have been filed under an injunction or are suspected to be gang members can have their charges intensified from infractions to misdemeanors or misdemeanors to felonies. Mendel claims that juvenile incarceration does not help public safety but rather harms it: it actually exacerbates criminality and increases recidivism among youth. Supporting Mendel’s claims, Kiriakidis further argues that only a small fraction of offenders are given custodial sentences, most of which are too short to actually prevent juveniles from continuing their criminal activities. As a solution, he proposes counseling intervention to reduce recidivism.

There are two main types of prevention programs: primary prevention programs, which target the general youth population and attempts to prevent smoking, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy; and secondary prevention program, which target youth who are at more risk for such outcomes as delinquency or violence. David Old’s Nurse Home Visitation Program, for example, significantly decreased child abuse and neglect, and arrest rates for both the children and the mothers. According to Greenwood, programs that underscore family interactions are the most successful “because they focus on providing skills to the adults who are in the best position to supervise and train the child”. Therefore, youth offenders should not be incarcerated but rather be placed in programs such settings, so that they will not engage in further criminal activities.

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