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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The teen-age gang and the community; a study and treatment of a teen-age delinquent gang with implications for community services and recommendations for social action. Hamilton, Glen Francis

Abstract

This study deals with a six month experiment of group work with a delinquent adolescent gang, together with the more general implications of the teen-age gang problem for the community. Throughout the thesis extensive use has been made of the writer's process records on this specific gang. Background information on sixteen of the gang members was obtained from a detailed study of case work, Juvenile Court and school records. The thesis begins with the sociological background of gang formation in disorganized areas. Special attention is given to the psychological needs of the individual which are satisfied through gang association. The process of encouraging a specific gang to become part of an agency program and the activities of this gang as a club within the agency are then discussed. The group work techniques employed and the various problems encountered are described in considerable detail. An evaluation of the six months' contact with the gang is presented. In setting forth the implications of the study, emphasis is given to the general philosophical requirements for the individual group work practitioner, the pitfalls which are to be avoided, and practical suggestions on such subjects as discipline, skills etc. The question of the responsibility of the private group work agency in the area of delinquent gangs is considered in detail and attention is given to the implications of a policy of dealing with gangs upon agency program, house rules, membership etc. The need for community coordination and a variety of community resources is stressed. A part of the study is devoted to examples found in various cities of community coordination to deal with delinquent gangs. A brief picture of the present stage of development in this regard in Vancouver is also given. The general principles of effective community organization in meeting the problem of gangs is set forth and the various alternatives in community-wide programs are discussed. A brief outline of a suggested plan for a community-wide organization to coordinate the treatment of delinquent gangs in Vancouver concludes the thesis.

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