In Denver, duo forms unlikely alliance to counter gang violence

Haroun Cowans, executive director of Impact Empowerment Group (left), talks with former gang member Trey Staples about their friendship and their anti-gang work in Denver, Oct. 23, 2015. Donna Bryson

Haroun Cowans, executive director of Impact Empowerment Group (left), talks with former gang member Trey Staples about their friendship and their anti-gang work in Denver, Oct. 23, 2015. Donna Bryson

The Christian Science Monitor quotes John Hagedorn, former GCI scholar and professor of criminology, law, and justice, in an article about Denver-based anti-gang efforts.

Experts draw on research, some of it sponsored by the federal government’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, when they say that communities must implement a combination of factors to effectively deal with gangs. Arresting the most dangerous players is important, but so is ensuring that young people in struggling neighborhoods have educational and employment opportunities, plus mental health support to handle generations of trauma. One crucial factor, the experts say, is the involvement of community organizations like Cowans’s Impact Empowerment Group, as well as the involvement of former gang members like Staples.

“The roots of violence are very complex, and they’re not responsive to [simply] flooding the streets with cops or flooding the streets with social workers,” says John Hagedorn, a criminal justice professor at University of Illinois in Chicago who has written extensively on gangs and on the racial and economic inequalities he sees as their incubators.

Full Story from The Christian Science Monitor »

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