Mediation: A Gang Prevention Strategy
by David Oliver Mendelsohn
Summary written by: Mariya Yevsyukova, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: "Mediation: A Gang Prevention Strategy." MCS Conciliation Quarterly. Winter 1991. Vol. 10, No. 1. Pp. 5-6.
This article talks about mediation between two gang groups. The groups "were not hard-core business gangs," but "groups...in the early gang formation stages" (p. 5). Communication between them was hampered by cultural and gender differences; they were divided racially and one group had female participants, while the other was male dominated. They still lacked distinct leadership. The escalation of the conflict between the two groups reached a high level of violence: four people were stabbed and several beaten. Thus, mediation happened at the stage of gang formation based on the members' need to protect themselves against another group.
At the mediation sessions, gang members discussed the issues of their disagreement, which were surprisingly very similar for both of the groups. The fact that the mediator was not a police officer supported the confidentiality of the process and its voluntary nature, as well as parties' responsibility for resolving their conflict, and created a trustful and enthusiastic atmosphere among the participants. Gender and cultural differences were causing communication problems; the male dominated group resisted initially to the presence of young women on the other side and the fact that they had a female spokesperson. Despite those differences, an agreement was reached and was upheld for over a year, up until the time the article was written. The mediation in this case played two important functions: it de-escalated the conflict and hampered the formation of two gang groups. Thus, it became a preventive measure.