The Conversation

A weekly discussion of a topic important to Californians

August 24, 2008
Gang violence: Is a tax hike necessary?


To comment now, click here.


This week's topic: gang violence.

San Jose has found some success with a community-based program focused on reaching kids where they live, go to school and hang out. The city awards about $4 million in grants each year to two dozen or more non-profit community groups that offer counseling, education and intervention programs.

The program might be an alternative to the $50-million a year tax increase proposed by some Sacramento leaders, or it could be a model for how to spend a big chunk of that money.

You can read my piece on this program here.

A Sacramento youth organizer and a drug and alcohol counselor offer their views here.

For what it's worth: San Jose, while twice the size of Sacramento, is a far safer place:

crimesanjoseandsac.gif




UPDATE. I just got this response from Don Meyer, the president-elect of the Calfiornia Probation Officers Assn:

The Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) has supported and continues to support rehabilitative programs that work effectively to reduce re-offense.  So it was with great appreciation that we read your August 24, 2008 article, Gang Violence and the way in San Jose, which acknowledges our collective experience:  evidence based programs with measurable outcomes, delivered with fidelity and fiscal accountability reduces recidivism.


Of particular interest was the data supplied in the article "About 20 percent of the youths served were gang members, an additional 31 percent were gang supporters and the rest were described as 'high risk'."  There is ample scientific evidence that several programs, when delivered with fidelity, reduce recidivism in both delinquents and adult offenders. Some examples are Aggression Replacement Training (ART) and Functional Family Therapy (FFT), to name a few. A great deal of research on correctional programs has been conducted over the past thirty years that validates effectiveness of some programs and destructiveness of others.  Significant and encouraging information can be reviewed at the Washington State Information of Public Policy website (WSIPP), which confirms my previous statements. 

 

We know the following:  Risk to reoffend is directly related to at least eight criminogenic indicators.  These include a history of anti-social behavior, anti-social personality pattern, anti-social attitudes, anti-social associates, family/marital issues, education/employment issues, substance abuse, unproductive use of leisure/recreation time. 

For a community to address crime (including gang issues), research indicates you must adhere to three principles.  Risk principle:  To maximize effect on recidivism, treatment should be targeted toward higher risk, rather than lower risk offenders and the population of treatment groups should not be aggregated by risk (one size does not fit all).  Need Principle:  Treatment should be targeted toward dynamic risk factors, also known as criminogenic needs.  These are risk factors that can be changed (e.g. substance abuse, gang involvement, anti-social thinking) as opposed to those that are static (e.g., prior record) Responsivity Principle:  Treatment should use behavioral and structured social learning rather than unstructured, nondirective, or "getting tough" approaches. 

One of the ongoing sources of frustration for community corrections has been the lack of a dependable revenue source, funds that are held hostage by budget crises, and a general lack of understanding about how to address crime reduction scientifically and effectively.  It is clear that consistent funding needs to be provided to local community corrections which includes probation, community-based organizations, treatment providers, jails, juvenile institutions and the entire law enforcement component. 

 

What is also increasingly clear is that the community and the taxpayers should demand accountability and results for the funding it provides. 

 

 

 



 


About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About The Conversation

Welcome to The Conversation, where our goal is to provoke and sustain spirited and civil debate on issues central to life in California. I'll offer a topic and starting point for a discussion each week, but we need you to carry it forward from there. Please dive in and join the conversation.
-- Daniel Weintraub

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31