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by Greta Petry (January 17, 2007)

Peterson Wins Grant to Study Gang Prevention

Dana Peterson of the School of Criminal Justice is participating in a major study of a nationwide school-based gang prevention program.

The research team for the study, led by Professor Finn-Aage Esbensen at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), is conducting a multi-site longitudinal evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program, which is provided by law enforcement officers in schools nationwide.

The study is being funded by a $2.5 million competitive grant awarded to Esbensen by the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice. Through a subcontract with the Hindelang Center, $300,000 is supporting Peterson's work on the project.

The research team is collecting data from more than 4,000 middle school students in seven cities across the nation. Using an experimental design with classrooms randomly assigned to receive or not receive the G.R.E.A.T. program, Peterson and her colleagues will collect data from the students through 2011.

Peterson, who joined the University at Albany in 2002, worked for six years on a previous evaluation of the original G.R.E.A.T. curriculum, and she is an active member of the Eurogang Program, an international collaboration of youth gang researchers. She is particularly interested in the ways in which gender structures violence, delinquency, and gang members' experiences, as well as whether gender-specific or gender-neutral responses to delinquency and gang involvement are necessary.


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