Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Reintegrating Former Salvadoran Gang Members

The topic of reintegrating ex-gang members in Latin America is very much understudied. It gets some--though certainly not enough--attention in the United States, but in Latin America there are many people getting out of gangs who don't know what to do next and suffer discrimination. That's the topic Jonathan Rosen and Josá Miguel Cruz tackle in an article just published in International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (sorry, gated). The abstract:

This article is an effort to better understand the discrimination mechanisms that ex-gang members perceive upon leaving the gang and seeking to reinsert themselves into a society marked by high levels of violence and inequality, as in Central America. Based on 24 in-depth interviews with former members of MS-13, the 18th Street gang, and other street gangs in El Salvador, this article analyzes the different mechanisms of discrimination perceived by respondents as a result of the stigma of past gang membership. This article also documents how these perceptions of discrimination can affect individuals who are searching for employment opportunities and seeking to reinsert themselves into society.
Governments try to get people to leave gangs but do much less to help them reintegrate. They often turn to the church, but churches don't have the necessary resources. If you can't find a job, then you can guess what will happen.


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