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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
March 11, 2005

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


Sharon Lauchaire


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

LINCROFT - 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." The conference was attended by New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and was held at the Donald D. Warner Student Life Center on the grounds of Brookdale County Community College and attracted over 60 participants.

"Our youth need to know the long term consequences of joining a gang,” said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. “Our law enforcement partners, our teachers and community members, and our parents and family members need to know the signs of gang activity if we are to keep our youth safe from gangs. 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."

In his opening remarks to the attendees, JJC Executive Director Howard L. Beyer, 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," said Beyer. "Together, we can make sure that young people understand that gang life is not the road to success, but rather the path to destruction."

The 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, which was the second in a series of three regional conferences, 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: 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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