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Street Gangs & Juvenile Corrections System

The American system of juvenile corrections has numerous failures and few successes, and it is a system in crisis as the inner cities produce more and more street gangs, violence, and troubled youth. There are many reasons for the increase in these problems, and the programs developed to cope with them have not kept pace with the rate of change and have not served well to control juveniles or to address their problems. Yet, new programs are suggested all the time, showing a realization of the need and attempts to come to terms with it.

Vigil (1988) writes specifically about Chicano street gangs in Los Angeles, but much of what he says about these young people apply as well to young people in other urban situations and other ethnic groups. He notes the increase in gang violence and crime and considers some of the reasons for this increase, reasons found in social forces at work across the country in some degree. Family stress is cited as a factor, and such stress can result from other social forces such as unemployment. Other family problems can include parental criminality, family breakup, alcoholism, and so on. Vigil cites street socialization as a problem as young people have no one to associate with except gangs which prey on younger people and force them to join at an early age and be socialized into gang activities. Peer pressure is part of this and can play a significant role in guiding most gang members into criminal roles. Schooling plays a role when it is problematic, leaving young people feeling they are not learning. are not respected, and will never achieve anything. Prejudice against certain racial and ethnic groups plays a role in creating young criminals and in fostering an "us-against-them" mentality (pp. 42-63).

Vigil also notes that there is constant friction between law enforcement and the criminal justice system on the one hand and people in the barrios on the other, and barrio youth and gangs are re...

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Street Gangs & Juvenile Corrections System. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 20:22, August 12, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1691593.html