California Prison Gangs

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California’s Most Active Prison Gangs

Formed originally during the 1960s and 1970s in California correctional facilities prison gangs have proved to be a large problem for correctional law enforcement officials. In the 1960s and 1970s prison gangs formed for the main purpose of personal protection from other inmates in prison (Valdez 2005). Now in 2008 prison gangs have far developed from what they used to be. Though in prison, these gangs have the influence to dictate violence and crime to the outside world by utilizing street gangs. Prison gang members consist of individuals that were previously apart of a street gang or inmates that believe in the gangs conviction. The four most active street gangs that inhabit the California correctional system today include the Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Guerilla Family, La Nuestra Familia, and the Mexican Mafia. The Aryan Brotherhood, also known as the AB, is one of the more famous CA prison gangs. First formed in California’s San Quentin prison in 1964 to protect white inmates from black and Hispanic inmates the AB quickly grew to become one of the most ruthless and violent prison gangs in the state (Prison Gang Profiles, 2006). With only 15,000 members the AB makes up roughly 1% of the current prison population. This is significant because the AB is responsible for almost 26% of all murders that occur in the federal prison system. In addition to living up to their violent and ruthless reputation within the last 30 years the AB has developed into a national criminal organization involved in activities such as male prostitution, drugs trafficking, murder, extortion and robbery. In 1982 the AB was found to have spread and in an effort to curb their growing influence in the California prison system officials began moving AB affiliated inmates to different parts of the country. A year later those gang members stabbed four prison guards, killing two, at the US Penitentiary in Marion (Walker,...
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