231633 Where two worlds Collide: A Social Justice Imperative for Youth Gang Violence Prevention through an Epidemiological Criminology Disparities Framework

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Timothy A. Akers, MS, PhD , School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Kevin Daniels, PhD, DMin, LGSW, MSW , School of Social Work, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Stacy Smith, MSW, DSWc , Communities Organized to Improve Life, Inc. (COIL), Baltimore, MD
Jonathan B. Van Geest, PhD , School of Community Health and Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
In theory, policy-makers are confronted against a myriad of social justice and public health challenges. They are pressed with deciding which CBOs are to be funded or not. These decisions are made, at times, on nothing more than a subjective opinion. At other times, their funding decisions are evidence-based, data driven, and demonstrated through a proven track record of performance by the CBOs. The burden of carrying out the public health or social services rests on the CBOs that reside directly as gatekeepers to their community. Their challenges in providing services may address the complexities of violence prevention, gang membership, illiteracy, mental health issues, or substance abuse, among others. However, when alleged criminal activities are directed to some aspect of a CBO or its employees, it is at this convergence where these two worlds collide, thus beginning a “social justice imperative” which confronts the burden moving from legitimacy to perceived illegitimacy. This presentation is based on a case study of a CBO that is actively involved in interventions to address gang violence and youth membership into the criminal subculture of gangs in Baltimore, Maryland. The emerging paradigm of Epidemiological Criminology can serve as a bridging framework which takes into account the biomedical and behavioral aspects of the individual, family, community, and society, by directly addressing solutions that employ the best evidence of primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions, and may provide insight into how a CBO must engage to effectively address youth and gang violence within a defined community.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. To examine the complexities of youth violence and gang participation when organizational and social dynamics change quickly; 2. To understand the importance of developing systems of service legitimacy in order to stave off challenges of illegitimacy that directly impact youth violence prevention and gang membership from a public health and criminal justice perspective; 3. To understand how to apply primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention intervention programs across multiple interdisciplinary outcomes of disparities.

Keywords: Criminal Justice, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The abstract Author has organize the Epidemiological Criminology panels for the APHA 2008 and 2009 conference.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.