Matt Glowiak, Kasia Wereszczynska — Session III

Gang members also have needs: Considering prevention and intervention programs to mitigate recidivism

Matt Glowiak, PhD, LCPC, CAADC, NCC and Kasia Wereszczynska, MA, LCPC, RYT (Counseling Speaks)

On the surface level one may think of gang members as violent individuals, criminals, poor students, and juvenile delinquents. Beneath that surface it becomes evident that many of these individuals are victims – having experienced significant abuse, neglect, poverty, trauma, and oppression. The circumstances that lead toward gang membership are oftentimes as, if not more, traumatic than the experience itself. Gang members rarely receive any type of rehabilitation by means of counseling, education, and/or support. As a sresult, recidivism rates continue to be on the rise and occur at a level of over 50% (National Gang Intelligence Center, 2013). Clearly, something needs to be done. This presentation will define the trauma experienced by students who ultimately become gang members. Upon assessing the symptomology associated with such trauma along with the impact of dysfunction, appropriate prevention and intervention programs will be explored along two fronts. First, the presenters will discuss some of the currently offered programs so that attendees may utilize them as resources for their clients. Second, the presenters will share the essential components of effective prevention and intervention strategies to guide attendees toward developing their own programs and collaborating with others.