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Contact: Ryan Pinto, pintorm@dshs.wa.gov
October 16, 2013
State Criminal Street Gang Prevention and Intervention funds awarded to three communities

OLYMPIA - The 2013 Washington State Legislature recognized that street gang activities are a serious problem that threatens the long-term economic, social, and public safety interests of Washington State, its counties and cities. Local communities require assistance to reduce criminal street gang activity and to increase criminal street gang intervention and prevention services. These efforts can strengthen families, improve school performance, reduce criminal activity, and promote pro-social development and success among our state’s young adults. As a result, the Legislature invested funds for a Criminal Street Gang Prevention and Intervention Grant Program to be administered over the next biennium by the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice (WA-PCJJ).

The purpose of the awards is to assist communities in addressing criminal street gangs by helping to ensure that our youth avoid gang membership and activities as well as other future criminal behavior. Studies have shown that effective interventions reduce criminal activity and recidivism. The Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice supports reform efforts that increase a youth’s chance of success and reduce youth’s involvement with gangs.

The awards are provided to communities to assist them in implementing the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Model. This Model is a framework for the coordination of multiple, data-driven anti-gang strategies among agencies such as law enforcement, education, criminal justice, social services, community-based agencies, outreach programs and grassroots community groups. Following a competitive RFP process, in October 2013 the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice selected the following three programs to receive State Criminal Street Gang Prevention & Intervention Grant funding for the Nov. 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015, grant contract period:

"City of Tacoma – Neighborhood & Community Services"

Applicant: City of Tacoma

Tacoma, WA

Award Amount: $133,000

Contact Person: Melissa Cordeiro, 253-591-5155

The City of Tacoma’s Gang Project was established by the Tacoma City Council to partner with the community in a comprehensive anti-gang approach, to build capacity within the community for gang prevention and intervention and to develop a comprehensive plan of programs, strategies, and policies to reduce gang involvement of Tacoma youth. This project continues the City of Tacoma’s work of implementing the OJJDP Gang Model.

"Suburban King County Coordinating Council on Gangs Implementation Plan"

Applicant: Center for Children & Youth Justice

Seattle, WA

Award Amount: $133,000

Contact Person: Justice Bobbe J. Bridge (ret), 206-696-7503

In 2011, the Center for Children & Youth Justice convened a group of elected and appointed leaders from all branches of government to form the Suburban King County Coordinating Council on Gangs ("Coordinating Council") to respond to growing, but largely under-reported, gang violence. The Coordinating Council is currently finalizing an implementation plan that strictly adheres to the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model and is designed to implement the OJJDP strategies. With the Washington State Criminal Street Gang Prevention and Intervention Grant, the Coordinating Council will implement an action plan which is measurable, meaningful and will ultimately reduce gang-related activities in King County’s suburban communities.

"Benton/Franklin Counties Gang Prevention and Intervention Project"

Applicant: FIRME Outreach

Kennewick, WA

Award Amount: $133,000

Contact Person: Jesse Capos (503) 736-3578

Build local capacity in the areas of prevention and intervention services targeting gang involved youth. The initiative involves a two phase process beginning with the adoption of the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model as the operational framework for the bi-county coalition. Phase 2 will involve the implementation of services designed to significantly reduce the incidence of gang crime and violence through targeted intervention and prevention services provided by FIRME Gang Outreach.

Representative Luis Moscoso, one of the original sponsors of the funding, stated: "I am pleased to see these awards going to three outstanding organizations working on the elimination of street gang activities in their respective communities. The Legislature did their best in a time of constrained budgets to provide this funding. But we need to do so much more. Our children should not be exposed to this anywhere. Addressing the social development needs of our youth should go hand-in-hand with their education. Streets and playgrounds must be safer. Now it’s up to the Legislature to provide ongoing support for programs like this in 2014 and beyond as needed."

A multi-site evaluation of the programs will be conducted on the three sites selected.

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