trajectories and conditions, that help wild youth and gang-members to move beyond the criminal activities
This paper is about exit-strategies, constructing a theoretical and empirical informed analysis of current societal conditions that influence motor cycle gangs such as Hells Angels or Bandidos and other ‘wild' youth' possibilities and limitations for moving beyond criminal activities. We especially focus on the involved communities in the current Danish gang-conflict, which escalated with deadly killings in 2008, and thereby became a so called "gang-war". We will start out presenting different practice notions of exit, and we will extend and discuss understandings of "exit-strategies" by analyzing different empirical sources. To develop and extend an "exit-prototype" about conditions of importance for moving beyond a gang/criminal position, we have analyzed documents (from newspapers and books), involved ex-gang members, social workers and experts as co-researchers in interviews, "gang-conferences" and in feedback-meetings, where we have discussed drafts for presentations, papers and articles. Our main goal is to produce more practice relevant and precise (theoretical and empirical) understandings of exit as well as different community anchored perspectives on how to exit/move beyond criminal positions. Thereby we want to extend and rework the understandings of exit, so they become more relevant for moving the involved communities (in the present gang-war) beyond criminality. In short we conclude: 1) Moving beyond imply theoretical and empirical based reflections of exit understood in relation to the diversity of the involved communities. This includes movements beyond thinking in dichotomies of either being criminal, ex-criminal or not criminal. 2) As pointed in the quote above, expanding conditions for exit is also about ending the gang-war, which includes police intervention and negotiations between the involved parties. 3) Development of effective social work with youngsters at risk of getting involved in the gang conflict. In Denmark we have a strong tradition for doing social work with ethnic minority youth, and good practice which is about to be developed further into more geographic areas. But we completely lack effective social work prevention within the communities where motorcycle gangs recruit their members.