Skip to main content

CJS 333 Gangs

This course examines the nature and extent of gangs in America. It addresses the history of gangs, why young people join them and strategies to mitigate risk associated with participation as well as associated crime. It considers variations among street gangs, and contrasts these with other groups, including security threat groups in prison and organized crime. Attention is focused on individual risks associated with gang membership, group pro dynamics, and macro-level impact of gangs and gang behaviors on individuals and communities. The role of the community and the criminal justice system in gang prevention, intervention, and suppression is also considered.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 15, 2017 to present

Learning outcomes


  • Develop and improve critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Compare academic and legal definitions of gang, gang member, and gang crime
  • Examine gangs in the context of key socializing institutions like the family, school, labor market, prison, religion, and the media
  • Identify the pushes and pulls of gang membership
  • Explain the motives and methods of gang disengagement
  • Analyze the effect of gang membership on offending and victimization
  • Evaluate what works in gang prevention and intervention in order to recommend solutions to community gang problems