Helping the city, the state and the world.
That’s how Dr. Jorja Leap views three new appointments bestowed upon her.
Leap, a Social Welfare faculty member and a well-known gang expert, has recently been tapped to bring her expertise to three different avenues to help evaluate gangs in Los Angeles, the state of California, and in Glasgow, Scotland.
Leap was named the Clinical Director of the Watts Regional Strategy, a position granted her by the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office. Based on her work with “Project Fatherhood,” she will be working very closely with Mayor’s Office Gang Reduction and Youth Development director, Guillermo Cespedes.
“He is a UCLA Luskin Senior Fellow,” Leap said, “and I am hoping to really involve Luskin students with this work. We are looking to build the capacity of case managers and community intervention workers.”
Leap has also been named to the California Board of State and Community Corrections “Gang Committee.” This is particularly impressive for the longtime professor as she is the only academic appointee on the 10-member committee that involves mostly members of law enforcement and politicians.
“We are going to advice [the board] on how to deal with the gang members and the problem within the corrections system and how to re-enter society,” said Leap who also noted that 80-90 percent of inmates are affiliated with gangs.
Based on her work with Homeboy Industries and with Homegirl Industries, as well as her acclaimed book, “Jumped In: What Gangs Taught Me About Violence” Leap was contacted by Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow. Leap will travel to Scotland in late May to meet with everyone from gang members to government legislators on developing a system similar to Homeboy Industries.
“The Luskin-Homeboy nexus brought us all together,” Leap said. “They are interested in our ongoing research on what works and what doesn’t work with both men and women.”