Gary L. Yates
Los Angeles Times
Although the police and criminal courts are an important component of any overall gang violence reduction strategy, their response has largely been reactive rather than preventive, making the associate costs exorbitant.
California spends billions of dollars each year to maintain prisoners, many of whom began their acquaintance with the justice system as juvenile offenders. Prevention and early intervention are far less expensive, not only in dollars but also in the social costs to the community.
The issue we must bring to the forefront of the debate is not what we should do with individuals that committed violent acts, but what we as a community are willing to do to decrease and prevent violence before it occurs. Law enforcement, the courts and community-based organizations working together can make a difference in reducing violence.
Gary L. Yates is the president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation, which has funded violence prevention programs since 1992, providing more than 390 grants totaling more than $93-million.
Copyright © 2007 by the Los Angeles Times. Posted with permission on www.tcwf.org . This article may not be published, reposted, or redistributed without express permission from the Los Angeles Times.