Street gangs have been a part of society for centuries so it’s inevitable that gangs would also be present inside jails and prisons. Gangs date back as far as biblical times and consist of a group of individuals that have similar ideas and are working toward a certain outcome. Individuals in gangs inside and outside of jails have caused many social problems that range from drug dealing and using, gambling, murders, and human trafficking. Gangs work and are established like society in general. There are the leaders of the gang and then the people who follow them. The Conflict Theory can be applied to prison gangs because of the distribution of power not only within the group, but also within all the other prisoners and also the prison employees.
Conflict theory is based on the idea that the role a person or group plays on a certain group of people and the influence or control they have over others. It states that a society or an organization who has control over a group function so that each person in the group struggles in some way. Different groups will struggle in conflict over what they think is right, what the norms are, and their ideologies.
Gangs in prison are usually started based on the race of the prisoner. Each gang thinks they are the dominate gang in jail and will fight to stay that way. Just like street gangs, prisons gangs are usually led by a dominate figure. This person has the first and last word, and members of the gang follow their orders. They often tell the group they are there to protect them, but in reality, are only there to benefit themselves.
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