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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
June 13, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Juvenile Justice Commission
- Howard L. Beyer, Executive Director

 

Sharon Lauchaire
609-292-2288

 

Juvenile Justice Commission Hosts Youth Gang Symposium
Educating Our Communities: Best Practices,
Strategies and Interventions to Address Youth Gangs

WEST WINDSOR - The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) hosted a training symposium today entitled, "Educating Our Communities: Best Practices, Strategies and Interventions to Address Youth Gangs." Approximately 200 participants attended the conference, which was held at the Mercer County Community College Conference Center here.

In his opening remarks, JJC Deputy Executive Director Thomas Flanagan stated, "The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission understands that gangs and gang related activities impact every community in our State. The JJC is committed to giving our communities and their youth the tools they need to succeed. Together, we can make sure that young people understand that gang life is not the road to success, but rather the path to destruction."

Attorney General Peter C. Harvey said training symposiums such as today’s are an integral part of his office’s overall strategy to combat street gang activity by increasing awareness among young people and adults.

"Our young people need to know the long term consequences of joining a gang," said Harvey. "And our law enforcement partners, teachers, parents, legal guardians and community stakeholders need to know the warning signs of gang activity. Training sessions such as this one are critical to increasing that knowledge base. If we can convince our youth that gangs are the wrong choice, we can prevent them becoming adult gang members."

Today’s conference was made possible by a grant from the Department of Education, Office of Program Support Services. The two State agencies have jointly identified the need to address youth gang activities and issues in New Jersey through the development of a youth gang prevention and intervention project. This training session, one of several regional conferences held this year, provided up-to-date information on the youth gang presence in New Jersey and issues associated with identification and best practices in prevention. Workshop sessions were conducted by members of the Juvenile Justice Commission’s Gang Management Unit and members of the NJ State Police Street Gang Bureau. Topics included: Current Trends in Youth Gangs, Graffiti, Youth Gangs and Music; Female Gangs; and Kid Rap.

Through the funding provided by the Department of Education, the JJC has developed a cutting-edge education curriculum, entitled Phoenix, that corresponds with the New Jersey core curriculum standards. Members of the JJC’s Gang Management Unit are also available to conduct workshops in the community. One-day training sessions can be adapted to meet an audience’s specific needs and information level. The JJC’s Gang Prevention and Intervention Initiative has become a highly recognized resource throughout the State of New Jersey.

The JJC is the state agency responsible for providing juvenile rehabilitation and parole services. Established in 1995, the JJC serves to coordinate services and policies effecting delinquent youth throughout the State. From prevention to parole, the JJC is a partner in the entire juvenile justice system working with communities to help redirect the lives of young people.

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