STR8 UP presents report on preventing gang involvement

By Angela Brown
January 7, 2019 - 5:27pm

STR8 UP will be visiting North Battleford next week to discuss ways to help prevent youth and adults from getting involved in gangs.

Representatives from STR8 UP will be presenting the community recommendations from the report Building Healthier Communities, written by Robert Henry, a University of Calgary professor with expertise in criminology and justice, which was completed in August.

STR8 UP, the provincial government and many communities in Saskatchewan were involved in developing the report. 

"The provincial government has asked STR8 UP to go from community to community to hear what has been the experience of community members with respect to gangs — how gangs affected them in their community, and what is it they think they need?" STR8 UP board member Kearney Healy said. "Now we're going around the province to the same communities to say: Did we get it right?"

He said it's important for the communities that participated to know that their experiences were represented in the final document.  

Healy said the organization has been "very successful in helping people leave gangs and start to work towards (leading) a healthier life." 

"We've had close to 500 people who have contacted STR8 UP and wanted to be a part of the program," he said, adding that as many as 90 per cent of those people are still free from the gangs they were tied to, over a period of about 10 years, after taking the program.   

The provincial government and STR8 UP plan to develop a provincial street gang strategy to assist communities in Saskatchewan.

The Building Healthier Communities report also addresses the problems that can lead people to become involved in gang activity, such as poverty, racism and violence. These issues can also contribute to homelessness, and an increase in addictions and trauma in society.  

The presentation which is open to the public will take place at the Don Ross Centre in North Battleford at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

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