In an attempt to curb gang membership and discourage future gang involvement, the city of Paramount, California, initiated the Gang Resistance Is Paramount (GRIP) program. The city of Paramount and the Paramount Unified School District have been collaborating for 20 years to provide the GRIP program to Paramount children and their parents. The program includes three major components. The first involves neighborhood meetings that provide parents with support, assistance, and resources as they try to prevent their children from joining gangs. The second component comprises a 15-week course for fifth-grade students and a 10-week course for second-grade students. The lessons deal with graffiti, peer pressure, tattoos, the impact of gang activity on family members, drug abuse, and alternative activities and opportunities. Finally, a school-based follow-up program is implemented at the ninth-grade level to reinforce what children learned in the elementary grades. The program is designed to build self-esteem and also focuses on the consequences of a criminal lifestyle, the benefits of higher education, and future career opportunities.
GRIP has been evaluated in six separate studies. The first two tested elementary students before and after participation in the program. Prior to the program, 50 percent of students were undecided about gang involvement; after participation, 90 percent responded negatively toward gangs compared with a control group who showed no change over that time period. The third and forth studies surveyed seventh- and ninth-graders who had participated in the program; both showed that 90 percent still had negative attitudes toward gangs. The fifth study cross-checked the names of program participants with police records and found that 96 percent were not identified as gang members. The sixth study showed that only 6 percent of ninth-graders who had participated in GRIP reported being involved in gang activity compared with 9 percent of youths in the control group.
National Gang Center and OJJDP Model Programs Guide: Promising program
Merit Award winner by the Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership and the California Center for Civic Renewal
Arnette, J. L., and Walsleben, M. C. (1998). “Combating Fear and Restoring Safety in Schools.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Solis, A., Schwartz, W., and Hinton, T. (2003). Gang Resistance Is Paramount (GRIP) Program Evaluation: Final Report October 1, 2003. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, USC Center for Economic Development.