BALAS Y BARRIOS: AN ANALYSIS OF U.S. DOMESTIC AND REGIONAL ANTI-GANG POLICIES FROM A HUMAN SECURITY PERSPECTIVE
Pfaffinger, Maximillian X.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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Threats to human security from transnational organized crime (TOC) and gangs have increased since the 1990s in the Americas. The United States implemented the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, the U.S. Strategy to Combat the Threat of Criminal Gangs from Central America and Mexico, and the Mérida Initiative in response. This thesis employs a multi-goal policy to evaluate how effectively U.S. policy responses achieved desired outcomes. For comparison, this thesis analyzes the Canadian gang violence strategy, examining what has worked and what has not worked. Findings demonstrate that law enforcement tactics prioritized within the U.S. strategy result in outputs, but they fail to impact gang violence outcomes. Prevention programs, on the other hand, both in Canadian and U.S. strategies, are effective in reducing gang crime and violence but are under-resourced and undervalued in U.S. endeavors. This thesis proposes that a comprehensive approach is better aligned with current expert gang research and more effective in producing desired outcomes. Recommendations include funding the Juvenile Justice Reform Act and rebalancing Mérida funding to support United States Agency for International Development prevention programs; integrating federal, state, and local partnerships through a community coalition council through the Department of Justice; evaluating the Treasury’s TOC designation status; and supporting complementary prevention and rehabilitation.
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