Violent Gangs and Extremism

Project: Research project

Description

The qualitative analysis will be based on an assessment of approximately 40 in-depth case studies on gang members that will be collected specifically for this project. The gang case studies will be based on interviews with individuals from multiple cities, including Fresno, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Interviews will be conducted with current and former gang members with a long history of gang membership and deep involvement in the criminal justice system. If gang members are engaged in extremist behaviors and beliefs, these individuals will be those most likely to exhibit them. Our work will target older individuals who have been to prison because time in prison is related to extremism. Such individuals will provide the best test of whether gang members have been radicalized or adopted extremist beliefs.

Following the empirical quantitative and qualitative analysis of violent extremists and gang members, during Phase Two of the project we will next use the conclusions arrived at in Phase One to assess the potential for the best practices from gang prevention programs to be used to counter violent extremism in communities. The mechanics of an engagement strategy intended to prevent violent extremism should reflect its components. That is, the pathway to violent extremism is not necessarily a linear process, nor does it have to begin with a grievance and end with mobilization. Instead, we can conceptualize the process as involving at least four components: grievance, cognitive opening, ideology, and mobilization.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date12/31/1712/31/18

Funding

  • DOJ-OJP: National Institute of Justice (NIJ): $140,786.00

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radicalism
correctional institution
mobilization
interview
mechanic
best practice
ideology
justice
history
community