First Advisor

Leininger, Thomas


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

102 pages


In March of 2012, the MS-13 and Barrio 18 street gangs of EI Salvador declared a truce and end in their violent war for territory. National homicide rates decreased overnight and now the Salvadoran government has become involved in facilitating and maintaining the life and continuity of this truce. This thesis discusses the roots of these gangs in terms of historical events such as the Salvadoran Civil War and the United States' involvement through immigration and deportation. Analyzing past responses to Salvadoran gangs, I found a primarily repression-based strategy that served to radicalize, brutalize and solidify the gang. Some NGOs and progressive businesses have started to address the problem, but without government support, their efforts are ineffective. Prison conditions in EI Salvador only serve to exacerbate the situation. I looked at Greg Boyle's Homeboy Industries model in Los Angeles for some insights. Homeboy has created many great employment opportunities but also tries to address many of the social aspects of gang reformation. I came away from my study of Homeboy Industries with the notion that if we are really willing to reform gang members in EI Salvador, kinship has to be the driving influence.

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.