Gang & Criminal Activity

Mentors become more than just a friend – as they provide an atmosphere of family and a feeling of belonging that all kids search for. With this, kids are able to better understand how bad choices will affect them negatively in the future, and how relationships with dangerous people can lead them down a destructive path.

“Current research suggests three distinct strategies for early intervention with pre-delinquents and delinquents. The first strategy is to intervene at the individual level with at-risk children, particularly disruptive children. The second strategy is family prevention, and the third strategy is school- and community-level prevention”

—Farrington and Welsh, 2007 (OJJDP Bulletin, Dec 2010),

“These mentoring programs have succeeded so well in schools and communities across the country that they are also being considered and used where the juvenile justice system is concerned. Other options for juvenile offenders are adult courts and boot camps, but research has shown that mentoring programs, over the long-run, provide better outcomes than any of the other options for these juvenile offenders… This also ties very strongly into the previously discussed issue of school-community mentoring programs, because those in the juvenile justice system believe that the juvenile offenders have been failed by both their schools and their communities when they turn to crime, drugs, and violence.”

—Promises and Pitfalls of Mentoring as a Juvenile Justice Strategy, Jones-Brown, Delores D.; Henriques, Zelma Weston,

“Mentoring relationships appear to reduce some negative youth behaviors. Of the four programs that evaluated behaviors related to delinquency, all showed evidence of reducing some, but not all, of the negative behaviors examined. Mentored youth … committed fewer misdemeanors and felonies after program participation…youth with a prior offense history were less likely to commit a major offense as a result of program assignment (38 percent compared with 64 percent of control group youth)… youth who were mentored were almost one-third less likely to hit someone than youth who were not… similarly that youth participating in mentoring programs were less likely to engage in what is described as ‘problem behavior.’”

—Mentoring: A promising Strategy for Youth Development – Jekielek, S. M., Moore, K. A.,Hair, E. C.,&Scarupa’H.J. (February, 2002),

“Mentoring is an increasingly popular intervention that has become a promising strategy for violence prevention (Phillip, 2003) Mentoring programs provide an adult role model for their transition into adulthood.”

—A Review of Mentoring Studies and Websites: A Report for the Melissa Institute for the Prevention and Treatment of Violence – Hayashi and O’Donnell, U of Hawaii,

“Mentoring is an effective way to prevent at-risk youth from becoming involved in delinquency and also to help already delinquent youth change their lives for the better. Mentoring relationships have been shown to improve youth’s self-esteem, behavior, and academic performance.”

—OJJDP Mentoring Resources,

“Congress has recognized the potential of mentoring as a tool for addressing two critical concerns: poor school performance and delinquent activity.”

—Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP),

“As reported in the latest National Youth Gang Survey, some 788,000 gang members and 27,000 gangs were active in more than 3,550 U.S. jurisdictions in 2007. As most gang members join between the ages of 12 and 15, prevention is a critical strategy within a comprehensive response to gangs that includes intervention, suppression and reentry.”


“Youth participating in mentoring programs have: Reduced negative behaviors related to delinquency, including fewer misdemeanors and felonies.”

—Mentoring as a Family Strengthening Strategy, National Human Services Assembly: Family Strengthening Policy Center,