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“Violence and Youth Gangs”

School: University of Utah
Professor: Jeff Jenson, Ph.D.

Course and Project Overview
The purpose of this 4-credit class is to involve students in a series of readings and discussions that explore the causes and consequences of youth violence and gang behavior. Solutions to the problems of youth violence and juvenile gang activity are reviewed through required readings. In addition to classroom participation, students are required to meet with a troubled youth in the community for a minimum of three hours per week. Student-youth interactions occur in the context of a project being conducted by the University of Utah (Graduate School of Social Work and Lowell Bennion Center), the Salt Lake City Police/Mayor's Offices, the Salt Lake Boys and Girls Club, the Colors of Success Academic Support Program, and the Salt Lake Rotary Club. The project,, "A Job Placement and Mentoring Program for High Risk Youth", seeks to reduce the incidence and prevalence of youth crime and gang involvement in the Salt Lake area by providing job training, employment, and mentoring for 100 youth in 1994-95. Students receive training in how to effectively mentor troubled youth during class sessions. Class Reflection Sessions will also be used to discuss community service experiences on a group and individual basis. Approaches for understanding and working with ethnically-diverse and female youth will be examined and discussed in the class. Finally, a series of field trips and guest speakers will be scheduled to further facilitate classroom learning and community service experiences.

Method in Which Service-Learning Course Requirements are Met:
1. Needed service: Students will be involved in a project being conducted by the University of Utah Salt Lake City Mayor/Police Offices, Salt Lake Boys and Girls Club, and Salt Lake Rotary Club. The project,, "A Job Placement and Mentoring Program for High Risk Youth", seeks to reduce the incidence and prevalence of youth crime and gang involvement by providing job training, employment, and mentoring for 100 youth in 1994-95. Students serve as mentors to one troubled youth in the program three hours per week.
2 . Service-subject matter relation: Students integrate course work in violence, delinquency, and juvenile gangs with experiences gained in working as a mentor to a troubled youth. Theories of delinquency and gang involvement and strategies to reduce violence among adolescents are included in class content.
3 . Class contemplates learning through service: Students are required to keep a journal detailing their field experiences and to present one written and oral case study of a youth they are working with. In addition, one 60-minute class per week will be devoted to Reflection Sessions. Two field trips to the juvenile court and Division of Youth Corrections are scheduled to further facilitate integration of course content and field work.
4 . Credit/assessment of learning from service: The oral and written case study are worth 45% of the final grade. The remainder of the course work is determined from journals (30%). one midterm exam (15%). and participation in class and field trips (10%).
5. Service recipients evaluate service: Students receive feedback from the Project Director at the Salt Lake Boys and Girls Club. The Director and other personnel from the Club will participate in Reflection Sessions three times per quarter to provide additional feedback to students.
6. Service develops civic education: At the end of the quarter, students are asked in their journals to describe what they learned about community service and to share insights about how this type of public-private community program might better serve troubled youth. Students will be asked to notify Project Staff on any ongoing involvement in the project beyond the Fall Quarter class.
7 . Knowledge enhances service: The course provides knowledge critical to working with troubled youth. This includes theoretical explanations for why crime and delinquency occur and a review of how society typically responds to these problems. Such knowledge is essential to working with individuals and systems. Service learning will allow students to test out newly-acquired information learned in class.
8. Learning from other class members: Students will volunteer in pairs so they have the opportunity to process experiences with colleagues. Weekly Reflection Sessions will also facilitate learning among and between class members.

Introduction
There has been a significant increase in the number of serious and violent offenses committed by juveniles in the United States and in Utah in the past several years. According to Utah State Juvenile Court statistics, felonies against persons committed by youth under age 18 have increased 109% since 1988. The number of youth referred one or more times for felonies against persons increased 120% in the past five years; aggravated assault charges accounted for 35% of this increase (Utah State Administrative Office of the Courts, 1993). Approximately one in three Utah juveniles are now referred to the Juvenile Court during their teen years for a criminal or status offense.

Juvenile gang activity among adolescents has also increased in the Salt Lake City area. In 1993, the Salt Lake Area Gang Project identified 213 gangs and 1,809 active gang members in the Salt Lake City vicinity. Approximately 38% of gang members are juveniles below the age of eighteen (Salt Lake Area Gang Project, 1993). Gang members were involved in over 4,000 criminal or delinquent acts in 1993.

Course Overview
The purpose of this 4-credit service-learning class is to involve students in a series of readings and discussions that explore the causes and consequences of youth violence and gang behavior. Solutions to the problems of youth violence and juvenile gang activity are reviewed through required readings. In addition to classroom participation, students are required to meet with a troubled youth and participating agencies in the community for a total of three hours per week.

Overview of Service-Learning Component
Student-youth interactions occur in the context of a project being conducted by the University of Utah (Graduate School of Social Work and Lowell Bennion Center), the Salt Lake City Police/Mayor's Offices, the Salt Lake Boys and Girls Club, the Colors of Success Academic Support Program,, and the Salt Lake Rotary Club. The project,, "A Job Placement and Mentoring Program for High Risk Youth", seeks to reduce the incidence and prevalence of youth crime and gang involvement in the Salt Lake area by providing job training, employment, and mentoring for 100 youth in 1994-95. Students receive training in how to effectively mentor troubled youth during class sessions. Weekly class discussions (Reflection Sessions) will also be used to discuss community service experiences on a group and individual basis. Approaches for understanding and working with ethnically-diverse and female youth will be examined and discussed in the class. Finally, a series of field trips and guest speakers will be scheduled to further facilitate classroom learning and community service experiences.

Readings
Assigned readings for each week should be read prior to the class meeting. The required texts for the course, listed below, are available at the University Bookstore:
Freedman, M. (1994). The kindness of strangers: Adult mentors, urban youth, and the new volunteerism. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Dryfoos, J.G. (1990). Adolescents at risk. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shoemaker, D.J. (1990). Theories of delinquency. (2nd edition). New York: Oxford University Press.
There is also a required packet of course readings that is on reserve at the Marriott Library.

Course Assignments
1. Field Journal. You are required to keep a field journal of your experiences working as a mentor with a troubled youth. Part of your journal entries will be responses to specific questions suggested by the readings and posed by the instructor.

2. Individual Case Study and Paper. You are also required to present one written and oral case study of a youth you are working with during the quarter. The study should include a discussion of why you think the youth has been in trouble as an adolescent and suggestions for how he or she might be assisted. You should integrate classroom readings and field experiences to support the assertions you make in your paper.

Be prepared to give an oral fifteen minute case review and analysis of the youth you are "studying". Your analysis should be theoretically based when possible, i.e. your explanations of the youth's behavior and recommended intervention plans should be derived from course (or other) readings. Be sure to use perspectives discussed in our readings. After you have presented the case, the class will be invited to review, analyze, and critique as a group. One week following your presentation, a five page type-written case study paper must be turned in to the instructor.

3 . Field Trips. Field trips will be scheduled during the quarter to enhance readings and classroom discussion. Participation is required.

4 . Midterm Exam. A midterm exam will be given during the quarter.

Class Format
The class meets two times per week for two hours. One class session per week will be devoted to course readings and one session (Reflection Session) will concentrate on field experiences gained from participation in the Job Placement and Mentoring Project. The integration of readings and field experiences will be emphasized in both weekly class sessions.

Evaluation
Course grades will be based on contributions in class and field trips, and on the required case study, exam, and journal:

Participation in class and field trips =25
Oral case study=75
Written case study (five pages) =75
Midterm exam=50
Journal=100
TOTAL=325 points

Course Outline
I. Setting the Stage:
Delinquency and Juvenile Gangs in Utah and the U.S.

Session 1
Course Overview
*Requirements and introductions
*Introduction to service-learning

An Introduction to Working with Troubled Youth in the Job Placement and Mentoring Project
*What is a mentor?
*Mentoring responsibilities on the service-learning project * Assignment of mentoring responsibilities

Session 2
The Nature of Violence, Gangs, Delinquency, and Other Adolescent Problem Behaviors
*Overlap of problem behaviors in adolescence *Physical, mental, and emotional status of adolescents *Ways to interpret youth violence, delinquency, and other antisocial behaviors
* Understanding ethnic and cultural differences in behavior
Readings:
Dryfoos, J.G. (1990) "Introduction: Hypothesis and Theories", pp. 3-14 and "The Setting:
A Description of Adolescents in the U.S.,,. pp. 15-28.
Dawley, D. (1992). A Nation of Lords. 2nd edition. pp. 36-54 & pp. 103-120.


II. Why do Youth Commit Crimes, Join Gangs, and Participate in Violent Behavior?

Session 3
Why do Adolescents Commit Crimes and Join Gangs?
* Overview of theories of delinquency and gang involvement
*Limitations of theory
*Risk f actor explanations of delinquency
*Applying theory to practice
Readings:
Shoemaker, D.J. (1990), "Explanations of Delinquency", pp. 3-13.
National Institute of Justice. (1993). "Why do Youth Join Gangs" . in Juvenile gangs: Research and response. National Institute of Justice. Washington D.C.: Hawkins, J. D. &-I Catalano, R. F. (1992). Reducing Risk and Promoting Positive Social Development, in Communities that care. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. B-24.

Session 4
Reflection Session: Field Experiences and Discussion
*Progress report on mentoring
*Introduction to journal assignment
Readings:
Freedman, M. (1994). The kindness of strangers: Adult mentors, urban Youth, and the new volunteerism. pp. 1-18.

Session 5
What Causes Violent Behavior Among Adolescents?
* Patterns of violence in America
* Diversity of violent behavior
* Violence in juvenile gangs
Readings:
Reiss, A. J.& Roth,, J. A.(1993). _Understanding and preventing violence._ National Academy Press: Washington, D.C. pp. 1-31.

Session 6
Reflection Session: Field Experiences and Discussion
*Progress report on mentoring and journal assignment
Readings:
Freedman, M. (1994). The kindness of strangers: Adult mentors, urban youth, and the new volunteerism. pp. 19-43.

Session 7
Social Disorganization, Delinquency, and Gangs
* Societal factors related to delinquency
* Gang membership and crime
Readings:
Shoemaker, D.J. (1990), pp. 79-113.
Campbell, A. (1991). The praised and the damned, pp. 4-32 and Girls in the gang: The sequel, pp. 268-281. In Campbell, _The girls in the gang_. 2nd edition. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.

Session 8
Reflection Session: Field Experiences and Discussion
*Progress report on mentoring
Guest: Joe Timmins, MSW Salt Lake Boys and Girls Club

Session 9
Social Control and Gang Involvement
* Social bonds and delinquency
* Developing prosocial bonds in youth
* Influence of social control theory on interventions and field work
Readings:
Shoemaker, D.J. (1990), pp. 172-207.

Session 10
Midterm Exam (50 minutes)
Reflection Session: Field Experiences and Discussion

* Journal update
Freedman, M. (1994). _The kindness of strangers: Adult mentors, urban youth, and the new volunteerism_. pp. 45-63.


III Societal Responses to Delinquency and Gang Involvement

Session 11
Working with Delinquent Youth: The Utah System
*When does intervention occur?
*Where does intervention occur?
*Philosophy of juvenile justice in Utah
*Juvenile courts and corrections: Systems overview
*Guest Speaker: Gini Highfield, MSW. Associate Director, Utah State Division of Youth Corrections.
Readings:
Division of Youth Corrections Annual Report (1991). Supplied by instructor.

Session 12
Reflection Session: Field Experiences and Discussion
* Journal update
Guest: Mike Andrews
Director of Youth Programs Salt Lake City Mayor's Office

Session 13
Overview of Current Prevention and Treatment Programs for High Risk and Gang- Involved Youth
*Characteristics of successful programs *Common approaches to the gang problem
Readings:
Dryfoos, J.G. (1990), pp. 115-149
Spergel, I.A. Curry G.D. (1990). "Strategies and Perceived Agency Effectiveness in Dealing with the Youth Gang Problem" in R. Huff (Ed. ) _Gangs in America_. pp. 288-309.

Session 14
Reflection Session: Field Experiences and Discussion
* Project update
Readings:
Freedman, M. (1994). _The kindness of strangers: Adult mentors, urban youth, and the new volunteerism_. pp. 84-101.
Treatment Strategies with Delinquent and Gang-Involved Youth
Individual, group, and community strategies * Generating motivation to change
* Culturally-relevant intervention
Readings:
Dryfoos, J.G. (1990). "Common Concepts of Successful Programs", pp. 227-244.

Session 16
Field Trip to the Salt Lake Detention Center and 3rd District Juvenile Court
*Detention Center and Court are located at 3534 South 700 West. 265-5900.

Session 17
Culturally-Relevant Intervention with Juvenile Delinquents and Gang Members
*Over-representation of minorities in juvenile justice
*Strategies for working with minority and female offenders
*Guest Speaker: Dan Maldanado, Associate Director, Utah State Division of Youth Corrections.
Readings:
Pope, C.E. & Feyerherm, W. (1993). _Minorities and the Juvenile justice system_. (Summary). Washington D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Session 18
Reflection Session: Field Experiences and Discussion
*Journal update
Guest: Duane Bordeaux
Director, Colors of Success

Sessions 19-20
Case Presentations
Class and Project Summaries

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