Finding the Door: Critical Incidents Facilitating Gang Exit Among Indigenous Men

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Abstract

Objective: Our aim was to generate a categorical scheme to describe how participants exited from gang life. Method: We utilized the CIT (Butterfield, Borgen, Amundson, & Maglio, 2005; Flanagan, 1954; Woolsey, 1986) and explored gang exit processes among 10 Indigenous men living in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada. Participants responded to the question: What facilitated gang exit for you? Results: They provided 136 critical incidents that were organized into 13 categories of behaviors and experiences that facilitated their exit from gang life: (a) working in the legal workforce, (b) accepting support from family or girlfriend, (c) helping others stay out of gang life, (d) not wanting to go back to jail, (e) accepting responsibility for family, (f) accepting guidance and protection, (g) participating in ceremony, (h) avoiding alcohol, (i) publically expressing that you were out of the gang, (j) wanting legit relationships outside gangs, (k) experiencing a native brotherhood, (l) stopping self from reacting like a gangster, and (m) acknowledging the drawbacks of gang violence. Conclusion: The categorical scheme is presented, described with use of extensive quotes from this research, theoretical and clinical implications are discussed, and suggestions for future research are offered.

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