April 1, 2013
Wiz Khalifa once said, “The things we crave the most are the things that destroy us the quickest.” After hearing this quote, I began to mull it over and twist it into different meanings; it could be about drugs or alcohol obviously, but it could also mean actual needs like social acceptance. In light of our juvenile justice class I was able to connect this idea with gangs and gang membership; juveniles that are entering prison for the first time, growing up in a rough neighborhood, have issues with bullying, etc. will typically latch on to a gang as soon as they can so that they can satiate that need for fitting in and/or staying protected. However, what those same juveniles don’t understand is that once they are in, there aren’t many ways out. Typically, once you are in there is only one way to move and that is up the membership ladder. The gang hierarchy is a complex system in which there are multiple stages and levels of commitment, ranging from the leadership members all the way down to the potential members.
The leadership members are the ones that are in charge of the gang. They call all of the shots and run the gang’s business, whether it is drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, violence etc. The leaders can also go by the name of “OG’s”, which is original gangsters, and they are typically “heavily involved in the gang, making it central to his or her life. The “OG” is often a violent criminal and he or she is very committed to gang activities. The original gangster has usually been part of the street gang for a long period of time” (Ruble). However, some of these leaders can also mentor the members lower down in the hierarchy. Many of the potential members and even less experienced members look up to them for guidance and support. The OG’s, or leaders can keep the juveniles in school/programs to graduate, take them under their wing to protect them, teach them the ways of the...
Cited: Carlie, Michael K. "Into the Abyss: The Structure of Gangs." Into the Abyss: The Structure of Gangs. N.p., 2002. Web. 06 Oct. 2012. <http://people.missouristate.edu/MichaelCarlie/what_i_learned_about/gangs/structure_of_gangs.htm>.
Fleisher, Mark S., PhD, and Scott H. Decker, PhD. "An Overview of the Challenges of Prison Gangs." N.p., 2001. Web. 5 Oct. 2012. <www.d.umn.edu>.
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Ruble, Nikki, and William Turner. "A Systematic Analysis of the Dynamics and Organization of Urban Street Gangs." The American Journal of Family Therapy 28 (2000): 117-32. Web. 5 Oct. 2012.
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