Mano Dura: Gang Suppression in El Salvador

Widespread social exclusion makes El Salvador fertile ground for gang proliferation and, over time, gang members have resorted to greater levels of violence and drug activity. Yet, government approaches have proved spectacularly ineffective: the homicide rate escalated, and gangs have adapted to the climate of repression by toughening their entry requirements, adopting a more conventional look, and using heavier weaponry. Sonja Wolf argues for approaches which focus on prevention and rehabilitation and looks at why such approaches have been continually sidelined.

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