Prison Gangs Essay

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Criminology

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INTRODUCTION Over the years, the expanding prison system has given rise to prison gangs, also referred to Security Threat Groups (STG). Prison gangs are organizations that operate within established prison systems as enduring criminally designed entities, composed of designated groups of prisoners with an organized and functional power structure run by a clearly defined constitution (Lyman, 1989). Prison gangs function in secrecy, with their main agenda being to undertake gang-related activities by influencing the prison surroundings through violence and intimidation of non-members. According to Fleisher & Decker (2001), Prison gangs are social groups operating inside prisons. Prison gangs can also mean groups in confined establishments such as jails and prisons. Moreover, they have unique mottos or creeds, constitutions highlighting the expected behavior of members, and unique membership symbols.

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Absolute secrecy and loyalty are necessities for all gang members, with violent behavior as a determinant for upward mobility in the gang hierarchy (Marquart & Sorensen, 1997). The main crime business for Prison gangs is drug trafficking. To protect their membership, they implement strict blood in, blood out credo for members who want to leave the group (Fong et al. Research suggests there are many prison gangs, each with its purpose and structure. According to them, these attributes establish the prison culture of the inmates. Hence, arguing that original prison conditions do not lead to the emergence of gangs rather than the importation of inmate attributes from their lifestyles before conviction. Each gang member tends to bring with them their cultural and individual background into prison.

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The multiplication and growth of prison gangs are attributed to severe misconduct in jails, such as drug trafficking (Shelden, 1991), sexual misbehavior, staff intimidation (Gaes et al. , 2002), an inmate assault. Some of those measures include; increasing approvals against members of a given gang, offering special accommodation to members of the gang, restricting special privilege such as visitations and phone calls, for misbehavior, assigning different tasks to gang members, implementing new rules and regulations to reduce gang activities, and increasing staff and resource allocation, as well as implementation of investigative approaches. In conclusion, the expanding prison system has contributed to the rise of many prison gangs within the prison systems. These gangs are predatory, violent, and unruly. They operate in clearly defined hierarchical organization structures, with a commanding leader who makes all the decisions on behalf of the gang.

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