Thursday, December 11, 2008

US Attorney pitches reentry programs for gangs on his way out

Bob Ray Sanders recently interviewed Richard Roper, the outgoing US Attorney for Texas' Northern federal judicial district, who surprised the Startlegram columnist by pitching:
a gang prevention and intervention program that he hopes doesn’t disappear once he is gone.

It is true that Republicans have a reputation, true or not, of focusing only on enforcement and rarely championing the idea of putting money and other resources into prevention. Even many police officers consider such programs "social work" that they simply don’t want to do.

Roper, pointing to studies in front of him conducted by the University of Texas at Arlington, noted he was quite proud of the Dallas/Fort Worth Anti-Gang Initiative for which he received a $2.5 million grant targeted to areas where the crime activity was the worst.

The program has a three-pronged approach — enforcement, prevention and re-entry — and in every area the numbers are impressive.

Comparing the last six months’ data (January to June 2008) with the first six-month period, gang-related arrests increased 82 percent, while certain gang related activities showed dramatic decreases: 29 percent decrease in aggravated assaults; 57 percent drop in robberies and 55 percent decline in aggravated assaults with a firearm. ...

The statistics on the prevention and re-entry modules are even more compelling to me. For example, the total number of youths participating in the prevention program was 2,467, with 69 percent of them completing it. Of that group, the number of youth who have offended or re-offended is zero, according to the study.

The study also shows a marked increase in school attendance and improved family relations for these young people.

"The recidivism rate drops tremendously when there is a re-entry program that includes training, mentoring and job placement," Roper said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Re-entry" programs are so often just a pitch for more funding to boost local surveillance programs of the "tail 'em, nail 'em, and jail 'em" variety.