An Exploratory Study of Chicagoans Attitudes Towards Youth in Gangs and Policy Implications(Pages: 1-10)

Psy.D. Nataka Moore*, B.S. Jenna Palladino, Psy.D. Teresa Barttrum and M.A. Katie Springfield

Adler University, 17 N Dearborn St Chicago Il 60602, Chicago

Abstract:

Institutionalized gangs have flourished in Chicago in the past and continue to be a significant presence today. While many agree that Chicago‟s institutionalized gangs need to be addressed, the manner in which they should be addressed is far from unanimous. The purpose of this mixed method study is to examine people’s attitudes in Chicago towards youth in gangs. Specifically, to explore their opinions regarding how they view gang(s)/gang members, possible interventions to the negative impact of gangs, and how individuals view child soldiers compared to youth in gangs. For this exploratory study, a total of 85 Chicagoans ages 20-73 years old, whose demographics resemble that of Chicago‟s population were recruited. The results found that the majority of participants have the perspective that the media and society often negatively characterize youth in gangs by using descriptors such as violent and dangerous. A majority of participants also endorsed that that interventions for gangs should ideally involve policy changes that strive to eliminate institutionalized oppression and address the mental health needs for those individuals involved in gangs. This perception stands in stark contrast of current policies that relies heavily on incarceration.

Keywords:

Gang, youth, rehabilitation, intervention, advocacy.