Jill Smith* remembers a night when her son slammed his fist down on a benchtop.
"They are my friends, dad, they really are," he said earnestly - a once fidgety kid, always a bit on the outer, roped into the world of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Now, he's locked up in Canberra's jail. His family sits with me - mother, father, brother, and brother's girlfriend. Before COVID-19, they visited him often from interstate.
"Bikies tell the kids that they've got to be loyal - 'Talk to cops and get shot', all this shit," his father Patrick Smith says.
"Any reasonable adult would tell their kids ... that they're not your mates, and that's what we did with our son.
"For some, their parents will get through to them, and for some, they won't.
"Unfortunately for us, we didn't get through."
Getting Canberra's sons to do their dirty work
The Smiths say their son, Matt, "nommed up" - meaning he became a gang nominee - after someone he knew introduced him to a local outlaw motorcycle club chapter.
At about 18, he was lured in by the promise of brotherhood, along with "nice bikes, nice stuff, and lots of drugs".
Instead of getting as much, the Smiths say he was taken advantage of; propelled towards violence and ultimately arrested while trying to prove his worth and become a "patched gang member".
"The bosses don't want to be shooting up and running through people's houses, so they get a bunch of 18-year-olds to do it for them," his brother Tony Smith says.
"Then, the 18-year-olds go to jail and the bosses sit there and get rich."
ACT Policing's manager of criminal investigations, Detective Superintendent Scott Moller, has seen narratives like this time and again.
He told The Canberra Times that young gang members and prospects were the ones "getting locked up and going to jail", while established gang members "run around" reaping the profits.
"The patched members are using the younger recruits to do their dirty work for them," he said earlier this year.
"Ultimately, there's a high chance that they'll be arrested, charged and that they'll possibly serve a term of imprisonment because of simply wanting to be part of these clubs."
The Smiths say if police focused less on the "plebs", and more on arresting the big figures in Canberra's bikie scene, it would eventually dissolve along with the "excitement" around it.
At last count on Wednesday, police said the number of "active" bikies in the ACT was about 35.
"It's not fixing the problem because when they take 20 of the plebs off the street and put them in the Alexander Maconochie Centre, the boys will find another 20," Patrick Smith says.
Mrs Smith adds: "They've probably got them before they're even cuffed."
On Wednesday, Detective Superintendent Moller told media police had been working hard to reduce bikie numbers in the territory.
"We need to stop the recruitment of these people into these gangs because, realistically, they're not delivering teddy bears at Christmas," he said.
A beating, bills and a gun to the face
Mrs Smith says Matt's foray into Canberra's underworld has made the family "lose their innocence".
The family claims to have lost an estimated $300,000 worth of property to gang violence. They say Tony was "jumped" at the age of 17 on bikies' orders, and unnecessary police raids on their homes have turned their grandchildren into people who "think police are assholes".
"Why would you point a gun at a young child's face during a raid?" Patrick Smith says.
Mrs Smith adds: "How do I tell them that the police are good people, when some of them aren't?
"We've just been thrown into a world that we didn't ever think we'd have to deal with."
In response to Mr Smith's claim a gun was pointed at a child during one raid on a family member's home, an ACT Policing spokeswoman confirmed its Specialist Protective Service performed a "negotiated surrender" at a Canberra premises in 2017.
The spokeswoman said it was usual practice for officers in these operations to be "appropriately armed and equipped when requesting occupants exit the house".
"It is common in a heightened threat operation that officers will assess every occupant prior to exiting the premises," the spokeswoman said.
"In doing so, officers always prioritise the safety and limiting of trauma to the children during the operation."
The Smiths say Matt's legal battles have cost them some $170,000, and their sense of security has been compromised by threats made to their other children.
Matt Smith tells his family he's finished with outlaw motorcycle gangs, and won't look back once he gets out of prison - but the Smiths want to stress the damage his involvement has done in the first place.
"I just want to emphasise that these guys aren't loyal," Tony Smith says.
Retiring social worker Marie-noëlle Curé, who has worked with the ACT's Victims of Crime Assistance League for more than 25 years, says bikies are virtually taught "how to become heartless" and it's this "indoctrination" that can be their undoing.
She says she's seen people unable to get out of bikie gangs, their bodies "rearranged". She's feared for their partners who've come to see her regularly when, suddenly, they stop coming and can't be contacted.
While Ms Curé has a tough time believing young men will ever stop joining bikie gangs as long as some have the "innate desire to control", she says early intervention is society's only hope.
She says it needs to start in schools, and extend into a renewed willingness for people to volunteer at services like the assistance league - for the sake of the greater good.
"Each one of us should have a sense of responsibility to our community," Ms Curé says.
"More of that care should ensure that everyone gets the support they need for free.
"How to behave and how to think and care about society should be taught right from day one in primary school until university."
Mrs Smith says jails are "full of kids" that would not be there if this kind of early intervention was in place and police took the right approach towards bikie gangs.
"I think that's the sad part," she says.
*Note: The family members' first and surnames have been changed.