Nikki Jones, author of African American Girls and Inner-City Violence, on What Gang Injunctions Really Do

Check out this article on “What Gang Injunctions really do” by Nikki Jones,a recently tenured professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Her areas of expertise include urban ethnography, urban sociology, race and ethnic relations and criminology and criminal justice, with a special emphasis on the intersection of race, gender, and justice. She is the author of Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence, which is published in the Rutgers University Press Series in Childhood Studies. She is currently completing a book based on her field research in San Francisco.

Some highlights:

“We can create safer neighborhoods by investing in education and prevention or we can make ourselves feel safer by systematically removing people we define as problems from their homes. The choice we make will determine more than the safety of our neighborhoods–it will reveal how much, or little, we value the fundamental principles of our democracy.”

“Gang injunctions are not proven to have a direct, long-term impact on crime. A recent RAND evaluation reports that the Santa Nita gang injunction in Santa Ana had no effect on overall crime or public order crime. Instead, the researchers found that reports of violent crime increased after the injunction.”

“This is how gang injunctions work: They use a lower standard of evidence than what is demanded in a criminal court to officially define people as gang members. After they are labeled as gang members, they are closely watched by law enforcement.”

“Injunctions increase the targeted surveillance of young men in the neighborhood. Even young men not named on the injunction reported feeling like targets. One young man said that the gang injunction should be called a “family injunction.” “I’m not on the gang injunction personally,” he said, “but I feel like I’m on the gang injunction. My family and my friends are on the gang injunction, so it feels like I am on the gang injunction.””

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