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Gang Intervention and Gang Prevention


The Department of Justice and other agencies often use these terms. Here are the most common definitions:

  • Primary prevention is designed to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors in young people in medium and high risk areas. Most primary prevention programs target younger students. These programs can be provided in schools, in after-school and programs, or during vacations. The Phoenix Curriculum provides different resources for young people in Elementary Grades, Sixth Grade, and Middle Schools, and core program resources for youth of High School age.
  • Secondary prevention resources are targeted toward young people who have already displayed early signs of problem behavior or who are exposed to a significant set of family, community, neighborhood, school, and personal risk factors. Our Middle School and High School resources are often used in alternative schools, drug court and diversion programs, group homes, and even detention centers. As many young people join gangs between ages 12-14, these young people are particularly vulnerable.
  • Intervention or tertiary prevention with high-risk or gang-involved youth includes community-based programs as well as alternative schools, adult gangs and prison gangs, juvenile correctional settings, group homes, halfway houses, parole programs, and probation agencies.

These program resources are based on state-of-the-art evidence-based models. They include significant elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET), including specific tools for motivational interviewing (MI) in each of the workbooks. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) promotes re-evaluation of dysfunctional emotions and behaviors to bring about change. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) seeks to promote change by making the client aware of problems and consequences of behavior. The motivational interviewing (MI) tools we provide are non-confrontational and gently provoke awareness. We can work with you to customize a gang intervention curriculum using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET) techniques specifically to the needs of your facility or community program.

Gang-involved adults in the correctional system (institutions, parole, detention, probation, halfway houses, vocational, and re-entry programs) are also candidates for intervention programs.

The difference between prevention and intervention is probably a matter of degree! Even with people who have a history of gang involvement, our objectives still include a desire to prevent further problems. Programs need to select and implement resources which are tailored to the specific population they are serving.

This means your resources need to be specific to such factors as age, reading level, male or female gander, language (English and Spanish, for example), the behavioral issues (such as aggression or violence, behavioral health issues such as conduct disorder, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder), the loctino in which the program is presented (school, correctional setting, after-school program, community agency), and type of presenter (peer counselor, credentialed professional law enforcement, teacher, etc.). Another critical question is the degree of severity of the issue. More serious interventions require a greater commitment of time and resources.

The Phoenix Gang Intervention and Prevention resources provide specific resources targeted to each of the above issues. With nearly 100 gang-focused resources, and nearly 1000 programs using these materials nationwide, we can readily help tailor a specific program package to your needs.

Decision Matrix

Which of these best describes your needs? You may also view a complete list of our resources here.

Early gang prevention. Some high risk young people, mostly of elementary school age. We suggest using Elementary School and Grade 6 Phoenix Curriculum resources
More intensive gang prevention. A larger number of young people. Somewhat greater risk, and problems (gangs, drugs, violence) are more evident. Most young people in the program would be the ages listed to the right. • ages 11-12: Elementary School or Grade 6 Phoenix Curriculum core resources
• middle school age: use the Middle School Phoenix Curriculum resources, possibly with more intensive intervention supplemental materials
Program would address risk and protective factors, and also include elements of intervention for young people who are already involved in gang activity Use age-appropriate resources from The Phoenix Curriculum (Middle School or High School), possibly in conjunction more intensive intervention materials. Consider use of detention resources.
More intensive prevention and intervention, significant effort to be made in dealing with greater levels of gang involvement. Ages 12-21 Empasis on intervention; possibly use age-appropriate resources from The Phoenix Curriculum (Middle School or High School); more than 80 different intervention resources available. For Grades 10, 11, and 12 we recommend a 25 or 50 hour version of our Phoenix/New Freedom 100 hour curriculum.
Adult gang members in correctional settings or on parole See probation/parole and adult gangs & prison gangs

If you find a program that fits your needs, fill out our phone consultation form.

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