Title

Rethinking the Mechanisms of Gang Desistance in a Developing Country

Date of Publication

1-1-2018 12:00 AM

Publication Date

December 12, 2018

Security Theme

Transnational Organized Crime

Keywords

srhreports, transnationalcrime, countr-elsalvador, gangs, transnational youth gangs, transnational gangs, gang crime, developing countries, El Salvador, MS-13, 18th Street gang, gang desistance

Description

"Most academic literature is based on experiences of gang members in developed countries. This article explores the mechanisms of desistance among street gangs in El Salvador. Gangs in this Central American nation, which include MS-13 and the 18th Street gang, are known for complex structures and their transnational reach. Based on a survey with nearly 1,200 gang members and former gang members in El Salvador and 24 in-depth interviews with former gang members in rehabilitation programs, this study finds that the characteristics of the gang organization play a more significant role in the ways individuals exit the gangs in extremely violent contexts. It also shows that a religious experience is the most frequent mechanism to leave the group because it provides a safer alternative in those contexts."

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Rethinking the Mechanisms of Gang Desistance in a Developing Country

"Most academic literature is based on experiences of gang members in developed countries. This article explores the mechanisms of desistance among street gangs in El Salvador. Gangs in this Central American nation, which include MS-13 and the 18th Street gang, are known for complex structures and their transnational reach. Based on a survey with nearly 1,200 gang members and former gang members in El Salvador and 24 in-depth interviews with former gang members in rehabilitation programs, this study finds that the characteristics of the gang organization play a more significant role in the ways individuals exit the gangs in extremely violent contexts. It also shows that a religious experience is the most frequent mechanism to leave the group because it provides a safer alternative in those contexts."