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Gangs and Schools.

In Gangs and Schools, Richard Arthur offers his perceptions on what works and what doesn't with youths who are gang members. Although the author identifies strategies in areas such as reaching out to gang members, influencing gangs, establishing an effective classroom environment and setting staff guidelines, the book falls short in providing specific techniques and true-life examples to illustrate points and clarify positions.

The book's underlying theme is: "There is only one institution left that one can legally orchestrate to deal with this (gang) problem - the schools." However, the author seems frustrated by the school system and its lack of innovation, flexibility and other grass-roots requirements needed to combat the problems it faces in the '90s.

Whether one agrees with the author's premise or not, the book does provide some very basic and limited information about gangs. Perhaps teachers, parents and students would benefit most from this primer; most juvenile corrections workers probably already are familiar with the information.

I found the chapter "A Community: Not a School in a Community" most appealing. Arthur argues that schools should open their doors to the community and provide a variety of services to youths and their families. What a marvelous idea!

Unfortunately, he leaves the impression that this is a unique and untried concept. He fails to indicate that this very "experiment" already is being tried. New York City, for example, has a Beacon Schools Program in which schools are available to the community from 7 a.m. to midnight. The school system provides traditional educational services to children. In partnership with a non-profit community-based organization, the school serves as a hub that provides child care services for working parents, after school programs, evening activities to families, and so on. It is working so well that the concept is being expanded to other sites throughout the state.

Gangs and Schools is easy reading that can be completed in a couple of hours. I recommend it for the novice who wants to know more about schools and today's students. The book, however, does not break much new ground on youth gangs, and it should not be used as a technical resource for practitioners who want to know more about gang development, intervention, habilitation or social change.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Glick, Barry
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:373
Previous Article:Ethics in Criminal Justice: In Search of the Truth.
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