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Indybay Feature

SF’s Response to Youth Gangs: Programs or Punishment?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Event Type:
Michael Lyon
Location Details:
Fireside Room, Unitarian-Universalist Center
1187 Franklin St, betw. Geary and O'Farrell

SF’s Response to Youth Gangs: Programs or Punishment?

Roberto Alfaro, CARECEN
Chris Gauger, SF Public Defender
René Quiñonez, Homey

SF Gray Panthers General Meeting
Tuesday, January 15, 1 PM
Unitarian-Universalist Center, Fireside Room
1187 Franklin St., (between Geary and O’Farrell)

San Francisco’s Gang Injunctions criminalize minority youth in Bayview, the Mission, and Fillmore, instead of providing the jobs, education, housing, medical services, and recreational programs which youth need, and which could make neighborhoods safer. The injunctions prohibit individuals named by police as gang members from being in the same area together.

Community object to the Gang Injunctions because:
* There is no community input.
* Police designation of individuals as gang members is
on-the-spot, arbitrary, and not subject to review.
* Getting off the Police Department’s gang list is extremely difficult.
* The Gang Injunctions interfere with programs that successfully
reduce violence.
* Gang Injunctions target minority youth and neighborhoods in a
racially biased manner.
* Gang Injunctions are used against neighborhoods
targeted for gentrification.
* Gang Injunctions use police and courts to deal with
what are really social programs.

A recent Justice Policy Institute study shows gang enforcement strategies do not achieve meaningful reductions in violence, but social service interventions can curb delinquency. “The current preoccupation with gangs is a distraction from very real problems of crime and violence that afflict too many communities,” says report co-author Kevin Pranis.

Roberto Alfaro is with CARECEN, the Central American Resource Center, an immigrant family wellness and empowerment center, with programs in health, youth/education, and legal services.

Chris Gauger is with the SF Public Defender Office, which has taken an active role defending cited youth and opposing the entire Gang Injunction program.

René Quiñonez is with Homey, community advocates and former gang members working with at-risk low-income youth in the Mission to prevent violence provide alternatives to gangs.


Added to the calendar on Tue, Jan 8, 2008 8:54AM
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