Table of Contents
The management of youth behavior in the community as far as their involvement in criminal activities is concerned has become a major challenge. Sadly, there are more and more youths that are joining gangs and are taking part in gang related activity. Their participation in gang activity can be explained using different theories. Nonetheless, in order to solve the issues, the Spergel’s model of community based assessment would come in handy. In relation to the book titled “Bloody Life: The Making of a King” by Sanchez, youth behavior is detailed herein with specific consideration of the family issues and community based issues that Reymundo had to deal with.
Family Based Issue
Reymundo’s family has had some specific family issues. These issues are mainly based on an individual’s life. These include the fact that Emilio who is the first stepfather is physically abusive. Pedro’s second stepfather is also physically abusive. On the other hand, Hector who is Sanchez’s stepbrother is a drug addict (Sanchez, 2007). Sadly, the mother is also physically abusive and illiterate conditions that have really worsened the state of the family in different ways. Also, Reymundo was not able to complete his education and had to drop out of school due to his abusive stepfather (Sanchez, 2007). These are just some of the issues in form of a summary that the family is facing.
To be specific, there are certain issues that seem to be the causative issues of the struggles in the family. For instance, due to the dysfunctional family system, the relationships in the family are also affected. More so, the members of the family are forced to engage in detrimental behaviors such as alcoholism and drug abuse. For instance, Reymundo’s mother was not loving and did not offer the kind of emotional security that a mother should offer to her children. In this case, she was abusive to her children, more so to Reymundo. Sadly, his mother would tell him about negatives thoughts she got about him. More so, she even indicted to him that he was a bothersome child. This affected him negatively.
Pedro was also abusive towards Reymundo. He would physically abuse him. This was a very negative environment to operate under (Sanchez, 2007). Pedro would also scream when communicating with Reymundo. Sadly, Reymundo tried to function in this harsh environment but would only do much. The Latin Kings were able to meet the needs for love, emotional security, and acceptance. The Latin Kings were able to meet these needs by embracing the acts of violence that were committed by other kings (Sanchez, 2007).
Community Based Issue
Notably, there are some community based issues that affected Reymundo in a great way. There are different aspects of a community that are noted in the family. It is worth noting that in the community, the family setup is also affected and highly influenced. There is the aspect of cultural diversity in the community which is considered to be quite important. When an individual is associated and involved in the cultural aspects of a community, they are considered to be a member of the community and they get to have meaning to the community.
The environment that Reymundo was quite suppressive and abusive as well. Notably, the environment can change and this would have effect on the individual. The different environment that Reymundo would find himself in include the candy store which was located around the corner of Potomac and Rockwell (Sanchez, 2007). Reymundo together with his friends would visit the store in order to get away from the abusive environment. They would also do so in order to keep warm away from the cold in the street.
The other environment that Reymundo together with his friends would go to is the Tuley High School and Von Humboldt School. Reymundo was enrolled at Tuley High School. To him, school was always great since it would provide him with a different environment that encouraged him and put some hope in him that things would at times get better. He was also able to learn lots of things at school. Matter of fact, he considered his school to be a hunting ground, he was also of the opinion that the students were his prey. This was a peculiar way of viewing the schools and it indicated that he was confident about himself and his abilities when he was in that specific environment. Schools have been used in the past as ways of discouraging young children from participating in gang activity (Cheng, 2017).
As far as the Latin Kings were concerned, the environmental conditions that were involved in the empowerment of the lifestyles of the kings include the police (Sanchez, 2007). Notably, the police were involved in the gang wars that were taking place in the region. Some police officers were fearful of the gangs and could even confess that they would be in danger if they tried to stop the kings. The kings were also empowered by some other individuals that were involved in drug traders. More so, these individuals were used to keep the drug trade on the high. On the other hand, the traders would also provide the kings with guns. The kings used these guns to protect themselves. They also used the gangs to fight other gangs that would be after them.
The society is involved in the marginalization of the community where Reymundo dwelled. In this context, the society had a major role to play since it was the one that retained those individuals that were considered to be problematic to the society. Sadly, the society would at times develop policies and programs that are fashioned in a way that would empower and benefit those individuals that are suffering in the society such as Reymundo. However, most of the time, these benefits will not reach the individuals that need these services.
Due to the experience that Reymundo had with the society, he was not able to feel stable in that community. More so, he felt that he was not secure in that society. The uncertainty of not knowing what the future held for him was also another factor that really affected him to a great extent. Matter of fact, he was of the opinion that the future would lead to his exclusion from the real situations of factors that would propel him to his desired end. Sadly, due to marginalization, Reymundo was associated with lower classes in the society. As such, his progress in the society was hampered to a great extent.
Social justice is also considered to be a major contributor to the marginalization of persons that are considered to be minority. There are many cases where such individuals are also deterred from acquiring education in the society. They are also deprived of the opportunity of enjoying other social rights in the community like all the other members of the society (Bergen-Cico et al., 2014). Sadly, most persons that are marginalized is due to the society undermining their potential and capabilities. Instead of serving as a motivational foundation to the youths, there are sections of the society that are actual contributors to the detriment of the youths since they brand them as criminals. In such cases, the youths themselves are discouraged and might end up engaging in crime.
Community Based Assessment
According to Spergel’s model of community based assessment, gang suppression and intervention can be managed by employing community mobilization, police, courts, probation, corrections, youth empowerment, schools, parole, etc. (Spergel et al., 1994). The institutions that are impacting on Reymundo’s life include the schools, church, gangs, and the local businesses. To a great extent, Reymundo was influenced by the school.
Once Reymundo was arrested the kings made plans on how to help him get out of prison. They helped him to secure the services of a lawyer. Consequently, he was freed. The school effected positive change into his life. When he was at school, he felt secure. In fact, as noted earlier on, he was able to run from the abuse that he was experiencing at home. As such, the school exerted a positive influence in his life and served as a deterrent to delinquent behavior.
In order to have a strategic plan in place on how to deal with youth gangs, it is critical that the complexities of a gang are well understood. With such an understanding, it would be possible to strategize on how to manage the youths with the intention of keeping them away from the gangs (Weinrath, Donatelli & Murchison, 2016). As a result to the above mentioned issues, I would propose that the community engages the youths in a forum that will facilitate the communication between the youths and the members of the society. If such an avenue was created, the society would understand the youths better and hopefully have a better strategy on how to assist them.
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- Cheng, T. (2017). Violence Prevention and Targeting the Elusive Gang Member. Law & Society Review, 51(1), 42-69.
- Sanchez, R. (2007). My bloody life: The making of a Latin King. Chicago Review Press.
- Spergel, I. A., Chance, R., Ehrensaft, K., Regulus, T., Kane, C., Laseter, R., … & Oh, S. (1994). Gang Suppression and Intervention: Community Models: Research Summary. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- Weinrath, M., Donatelli, G., & Murchison, M. J. (2016). Mentorship: A Missing Piece to Manage Juvenile Intensive Supervision Programs and Youth Gangs? Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 58(3), 291-321. doi:10.3138/cjccj.2015.E19