The National Institute of Justice-funded study discussed in this article provides a baseline for creating and assessing programs and practices to help individuals exit extremism.
For those engaged in domestic extremism, the process of exiting an extremist life can be relatively fast, or it can take a decade or longer, but always with a risk of relapse into extremist crime, affiliations, or beliefs. Disengagement from extremist activity and associations can be facilitated by positive developments such as better pay, the birth of a child, or a new, non-extremist life partner; cutting back on substance use; or simple disillusionment with the extremist group. But it can also be blocked or delayed by factors such as membership in a close-knit extremist group or family, a criminal history, or poor educational attainment. The diversity of influences and outcomes informing the prospects of exiting extremism suggests there is no one-size-fits-all model of disengagement. The National Institute of Justice-funded study discussed in this article provides a baseline for creating and assessing programs and practices to help individuals exit extremism.
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