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Juvenile Gangs - Research Paper Example

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Juvenile Gangs Instructor name Date Juvenile gangs, along with the problems generally associated with them, are growing throughout the large cities of the U.S. Some may be surprised to know this problem is expanding to the suburbs, smaller towns and rural areas of the country as well…
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Download file to see previous pages Being raised in an economically depressed neighborhood can understandably lead youth persons to think that their lives are unimportant and thus want for a sense of identity. The social construction gangs offer provides juveniles with a sense of belonging, a particularly significant need for developing youths. In many neighborhoods, adolescents are actively recruited or are intimidated into becoming gang members and seemingly have little choice. “A few [teens] are virtually born into gangs as a result of neighborhood traditions and their parents’ earlier and perhaps continuing gang participation or involvement in criminal activity” (Moore, 1978). The gangs offer disenfranchised kids, who are undergoing feelings of isolation, a connection to a family-like atmosphere. Some of these youths are wavering between what they consider as their adopted and native cultures but feel a connection to neither. There are many reasons that youths join and remain loyal to gangs, all of which are complex and possibly incomprehensible to the general public. This discussion will briefly explain why juveniles join gangs then discuss gangs themselves, their motivations, general make-up, characteristics, and trends concerning street gang activity. There are numerous early factors that can lead juveniles to become gang members in addition to what might be the most obvious, living in abusive households. Poverty is another of the more significant factors. According to research conducted by the Children’s Defense Fund, nearly one fifth of all youths live below the poverty line in American cities. “Poor neighborhoods, especially ‘inner-city war zones’, generally have relatively high crime rates, unsatisfactory schools and unhealthy living conditions. They provide a child with few resources, negatively affect development and increase the chances a child will become violent” (“Rosado”, 2000, p. 15). Children who are subjected to two or more risk factors such as poverty and abuse, have a significantly higher risk factor of participating in criminal behavior and juvenile violence. Inner city ‘battle zones’, which have grown significantly in many of the country’s small to medium-sized towns in addition to the larger urban sections of major cities, are described as those areas in which most youths over 14 years old has attended the funeral of more than one friend, a very distinct definition, one that is difficult for most Americans to fully comprehend. (Garbarino, 1999, p. 40). Because youths living in disadvantaged neighborhoods are often ostracized from mainstream society due to their inability to afford similar material goods or the education that would afford them with the means to leave, many of these juveniles grow up under an umbrella of bitterness, anger and open contempt of the societal rules and government laws of the same society that rejected them. This circumstance makes it easier for them to rationalize their own deviant behaviors because they are merely doing what they believe necessary so as to give themselves a chance at something beyond their present life condition, a chances they not offered elsewhere. Their perception of rejection by the society at large also instills an attitude of despair and hopelessness among youths who are already suffering from other unfavorable conditions, reinforcing the idea that life will likely always be this painful, empty ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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