Prison System

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Dealing with gangs and subgroups in prison system

Dealing with gangs and subgroups in prison system


A prison gang is a close-knit and disruptive group of inmates organized around a common affiliation. Prison gangs exist for the purpose of mutual care taking, solidarity, and profit-making criminal activity (Ross & Richards, 2002). The Gypsy Jokers, a gang formed in the 1950s in Washington state prisons, was the first documented American prison gang. The Mexican Mafia, which emerged in 1957 in the California state prison system, was the first prison gang to have nationwide ties. In the United States, the Crips, the Mexican Mafia (also known as La Emet), La Nuestra Familia, the Texas Syndicate, the Mexikanemi (also known as the Texas Mexican Mafia), the Gangster Disciples, the Bloods, Latin Kings, and the Vice Lords are among the largest prison gangs.

Criminal activities of incarcerated gang members have a distinctive character. Tattoos, special attire, macho images, and official titles reflect the sense of ganghood. In contemporary societies, prisons and street gangs are interrelated. Sometimes gangs are created in prison and these gangs move into the streets after inmates are released. However, usually prison gangs are a consequence of street gangs (i.e., incarcerated gang members continue gang activities in prison after incarceration). In addition, older gang members in prison are often leaders in their gangs, and from prison they regulate the activities of other incarcerated gang members and continue to provide leadership to gang members on the street. Activities of prison gangs include extortion, intimidation, drug trafficking, gambling, and homosexual prostitution. Gangs often bribe weak correctional officers; infiltrate job assignments, and abuse privileges to gain privileges, money, and drugs (Hassine, 2004). The aim of the paper is to suggest the solution to deal with the prison gang's problem. Before reaching the solution, first we will discuss the prison system, theory how gangs come into existence and their impact on prison system.


The Prison System (PS) is part of the institutions of the regime of public security of a country. Its mission is to provide certainty of punishment, to isolate criminals, provide security of inmates and have an effective rehabilitation program but this institute is also facing the problem of gangs and subgroup activities in the prison system. The majority of the most powerful and violent gangs seem to have originated in response to Federal and state prison desegregation and the formation of gangs within the prison system that battled over either race, nationality, or prison business opportunity. As members come and go from the prison system, they bring their gang affiliation with them, and tend to recruit from the poor White, Latino and African American communities. The most disturbing element of their activities involves the question of the massive amount of drugs and the well organized prostitution, murder for hire, and other criminal enterprises that manage to go on in what are supposed to be secure facilities (Fong, Vogel & Buentello, 1992).

A prison gang is a group of inmates who perform criminal activity while incarcerated and after ...
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