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Understanding and Responding to Youth Gangs A Juvenile Corrections Approach Youth gangs are very attractive to youths in the inner-cities of America These gangs are usually very corrupt and violent What many people do not realize is that these gangs are having a large impact on not only the youth of America but this country in general A youth gang is a group of adolescents primarily twelve to eighteen years old whose members describe themselves by a single group name and are recognized by society through this name They usually involve themselves in organized crime which includes such acts as drug dealing murder and rape Their acts receive negative publicity from society and law enforcement agencies Other characteristics of a gang include a formal leader initiation requirements for all prospective gang members its own slang symbol and territory There are three primary types of youth gangs territory gangs who protect a common ground organized gangs who primarily deal drugs and scavenger gangs who have a common goal in mind Gangs According to a national law enforcement study conducted in 1996 by GD Curry for the National Youth Gang Center the ethnicity of gang members is estimated at 48 African-American 43 Hispanic 5 Caucasian and 4 Asian Why youths join gangs is discussed frequently in the world of psychology Reasons youths become gang members include lack of positive role models low self-esteem physical safety andor security peer relations sense of identity increased status opportunities for excitement and making money fast especially by selling drugs When a youth does get in a gang they do not realize they are not an individual anymore By gaining acceptance into a gang the youth now becomes a gangster There is no difference between men joining than women both are looking for the same kind of family feeling They need to feel that they are a part of something in order to fit in That is why they wear
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