Prison gangs are flourishing across the country. Organized, stealthy and deadly, they are reaching out from their cells to organize and control crime in America's streets. Law enforcement personal began to systematically monitor gang activities in the 1970's. Working together, their initial attempts were to identify only gangs which had some semblance of formal structure, a constitution, bylaws, mission statement, or some identifiable tenets guiding their activities. However, with experience, staff began to realize that even less well-organized groups could still pose significant threats to the security and orderly running of an institution. Many of these smaller groups occupy the fringes of various conceptual and organizational frameworks, most notable ethnic, religious, or social organizations. Nevertheless, they have demonstrated that they can constitute a threat to prison security and public safety (gang buster). In 1986 the United States Department of Justice identified 114 different prison gangs in the U.S., and with a membership that may constitute as much as three percent of the total prison population in the United States. Of those, five have emerged as the most powerful and influential: The Mexican Mafia, the Lu Nuestra Familia, the Texas Syndicate, the Aryan Brotherhood, and the Black Guerilla Family. They all maintain the membership requirement of murder or the spilling of another's blood. In addition, each of these organizations relies heavily on illegal revenues from the drug trade (police studies). Some of the gangs are nothing but a group of inmates in one prison, while other gangs could be large enough to connect with other branches through out the U.S. Prison. Gangs are flourishing from California to Massachusetts, in 1996, the Federal Bureau of Prisons found that prison disturbances soared by about 400 percent in the early nineties, which authorities say indicated that gangs were becoming more active. In states like Illinois, as much as 60 percent of the prison population belongs to gangs. The Florida Department of Corrections has identified 240 street gangs operating in their prisons. (Insight on the). Prison gangs cause a lot of problem in the correctional system because what it is doing is separating inmates in to groups and then the groups don't like each other. Though out this paper I will break down the top five prison gangs and discuss there similarities and differences. Prison gangs have an impact on prisoners' lives in prison, on prison administrators and staff. The impact of prison gangs on prisoners' lives may be measured by the amount of violence which takes place in the prison. While it may be said that gangs play a role in stabilizing the inmate environment (by protecting some inmates from assaults, exploitation, or other harm), they also contribute to the amount of violence found in prison. Also, as they are being released into the community on parole, these people are becoming involved in actions related to prison-gang business. Therefore, it is no longer just a corrections problem, it is also a community problem. The gangs control the prisons with contraband. They have what others want, "Contraband is power" (Insight on the). In Texas during the 1980s, the prison gang problem became so severe that prison officials almost lost control of their prisons. Institutional homicides were at an all-time high, and correctional officers were injured and even killed by prison gang members. Today, it has been reported that prison gangs are responsible for over half of all prison management problems nationwide. Prison gangs have expanded their activities outside the walls and these gangs represent one of the newest and most dangerous organized crime syndicates in America (police studies). One of the biggest gangs in the correctional system is the Aryan brotherhood. The Aryan brotherhood was started in San...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document