Not for sensible reasons, such as the legal minefield it throws up, or the fact that – like the soon-to-be late and unlamented ASBO – it simply won’t work because the magistrates will be unable to enforce it with jail time, but because…
Well, can you guess?
"Gang injunctions are not solutions to social ills, nor do they make our streets safer" says Jerry Elster, a former gang member from South Central Los Angeles and an organiser with All of Us or None. "What they are successful at is criminalising impoverished communities".Yup, it’s ‘Minorities and the poor will be affected, oh noes!’ So, what is it that causes gang violence?
By introducing gang injunctions, the British government is adopting a failed policy. Community organisations in California say that injunctions are an ineffective and inappropriate response to social problems, because they fail to address the fundamental causes of violence such as poverty and unemployment.Is this a template that all CiF columnists have access to? I’m feeling a hell of a lot of déjà vu…
Instead, they criminalise people and their communities. "These injunctions label our young people as criminals, and condemn them to a lifetime of discrimination and an end to hope" says Linda Evans, part of a diverse group of concerned members fighting the gang injunctions in Oakland.I wonder just how ‘diverse’ that group is?
Gang injunctions have also been used to justify increased police surveillance and harassment of communities of colour.In communities that are predominantly black or Latino, is it really any wonder that the gangs themselves will reflect the make-up of the area?
Perhaps George would like to suggest they offer up some posts in their gangs for female or disabled members, to make them less mono-cultural and more diverse?
All those named on the injunctions in Oakland have been black or Latino, and has lead critics of gang injunctions to describe them as "legalised racial profiling".And naturally, George manages to find a parallel with the UK:
People of colour are already disproportionately targeted by the police in Britain. A 2010 report showed that black people were at least six times more likely and Asian people around twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people.Given that the police are often working to suspect profiles, rather than the utterly useless ‘random stop’, this is hardly surprising. In fact, anything else is wasting resources.
In Oakland, local people have come together to resist the gang injunctions and develop their own plan for a safer city. "Our communities will only become safer places when we have secure incomes, when our basic needs for housing, nutrition and health care are met, and when we believe our lives matter", says Manuel Fontaine of Plan for a Safer Oakland.
These are the things that will make safe and sustainable communities here too. We need real community solutions.And if you are looking to have those things handed to you on a plate, by the government, you will forever be disappointed…
Mind you, we don't want to follow the US in everything, as frequent commenter PJH notes (via email):
As ridiculous as this may sound, the Courts argued that the structure of the game mimics the organization of a gang and therefore promotes gang activity.*boggle*
Bruce Muraski, disruptive group coordinator for the Waupun Correctional Institute in Wisconsin stated, "During D&D games, one player is denoted the 'Dungeon Master.' The Dungeon Master is tasked with giving directions to other players, which Muraski testified mimics the organization of a gang."