LA tries new test to find gang members wanting out

January 7, 2012 - 11:05 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Melissa Pirraglio spent 11 years in a gang, many of them in drug-addled despair seeking a way out.

She says many gang members have the same inkling that wants a better life.

Anti-gang crusaders have known for years that tapping that inkling can be the path to get youths out of gangs — the problem is finding it in young people hardened by deep mistrust of outsiders and little hope in their futures.

In a new experiment in the field of gang intervention, researchers in Los Angeles think they have a test to measure how likely a gang member is to leave the gang.

If a gang member's loyalty is wavering, counselors can step up efforts to encourage him to quit.