Project #43914 - Forum 8 responses

I need two seperate 250 word responses to the text below. No format needed as they will be posted in a forum.

Policies are created by legislators. When legislators create these policies, they are often focused on the subject of crime control. A lot of the policies dealing with gangs are created in order to control the gangs and to make their punishments harsher. Rules for harsher punishments have been passed my many governments in different states (Shelden 2012). A lot of people would argue that these policies are not effective. We expect them to be effective because the policies are created by lawyers and officials that we believe to be the subject matter experts on issues like these. The problem is that many of these policies are created by elected officials who have their own policies and political motives behind some of the policies they create.

The public wants to see gangs being controlled. In cities like Chicago, where gangs are very common, the public would likely support any legislation that supports the controlling of gangs. But are these policies doing any good? Are they making a difference? The problem is that these policies are created but not by subject matter experts. Legislators need to talk to gang members to see where the problem is coming from. The legislators need to know what even constitutes a gang. What I mean by that is many legislators may have a false idea of what a gang is. They too have been influenced by the media and their mind may be clouded as to what an actual gang is about.

The legislators and policy makers need to address the issue by seeking answers. The best place for them to seek answers is from the actual source, the gangs themselves (Petersen 2004). Legislators can speak to gang members about the issues just like law enforcement does on a daily basis. They can also talk to the general public. The general public is who experiences gangs every day. I also believe that if policy makers and legislators took the time to speak with incarcerated juveniles who are in gangs, they may be able to develop better policies that may be more effective in dealing with gangs. They can find out what causes gang violence from the source themselves. Legislators have failed to talk to gang members to examine how the actual policies and laws have effective them (Petersen 2003).

This is what Shelden meant by the quote, “…the legal response to gangs demonstrates that practitioners, with few exceptions, do not listen to gang members” (Petersen, 2003, p. 21). Legislators and policy makers are simply not talking to gang members and not listening to gang members. They continue to create policies without the actual knowledge they can attain by listening to gang members. I believe that many legislators would be very hesitant to speak to a gang member or to take on information from them. They may feel that they shouldn’t have to talk to a gang member or a criminal. They may believe that obtaining information from a gang member is useless because of their past criminal activity. The truth is that policy makers can obtain a lot of useful information from gang members because they either live or have lived the gang life already. The opportunity presents itself on a daily basis. Prisons are always housing gang members. Legislators can simply contact a prison official and ask to speak to a gang member in order to get some insight on how current laws and policies are effecting gang members. There are several in prison who have left a gang and would be willing to talk to a policy maker and give them the information they are requesting. The question is: Will a legislator take the initiative to do this?  - Noel Del Rosario

Shelden, R.G., Tracy, S.K., & Brown, W. B. (2012). Youth Gangs in American Society (4th ed). Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth.

Petersen, R.D. (2003). Understanding Contemporary Gangs in America: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Subject Law
Due By (Pacific Time) 10/17/2014 12:00 am
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