Sanity on Youth Gangs in Wash State

A column by Janice O’Mahony, chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee in Washington State, appeared yesterday on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer‘s opinion page and led with this friendly statistic: “Since 1996, there has been a 40 percent decrease in juvenile arrests in Washington.” Against this trend is a possible uptick in youth gang activity. Thankfully, though, a war on streetcorner kids does not seem to be in the offing. “Across all the lines of jurisdiction, political ideology and organization,” she writes, “there is near unanimity among policymakers that prevention is critical, and that intervening early in kids’ lives — before they commit crimes or join gangs — is the first and most effective line of defense for communities where gang activity may be on the rise again.” O’Mahony calls this “welcome progress in our society’s approach to youth gang involvement.”

Yep, I’d agree with that.


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