Taking a Closer Look at Prison Gangs

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Prison Gangs Ever since the creation of the first prison gang the ‘Gypsy Jokers’, gangs in prisons have been a handful for officials trying to provide safety and security not only for corrections workers but for inmates as well. Prison gangs have been responsible for carrying out any number of illicit activites behind bars, these include but may not be limited to: gambling, drugs, protection, and prostitution (Knox, 2012). Over the years research for prison gangs proves difficult because of the secretive nature behind these organizations, but there is new evidence being brought to light that is helping combat these illusive and lucrative criminal organizations. There are currently 150,000 incarcerated gang members across the United…show more content…
A study done in 1996 on prisoners of the Arizona Department of Corrections, followed inmates for the first 3 years of their incarceration. This study found that “inmates with no gang affiliation were significantly less likely that those wit either street gang affiliation or prison gang affiliation to have been guilty of a violent misconduct” (Griffin, 2006). Also noted in the Griffon study, inmates who have a gang affiliation are less likely to participate in needed rehab and vocational programs that may help them upon release. A big problem with prison gangs is that very little is known about them, this is because they are very secretive, unlike their counterparts on the streets (Fong, 1991). The reason for this secrecy is so gang members can avoid being persecuted by the prison administration. Over the years prison officials have come up with different ways to handle prisoners in gangs, one method is called jacketing. Jacketing is when an inmate recieves a mark on his record, or his ‘jacket’, that marks him as a gang member. From there an inmate can be moved to a higher security prison or a different housing unit if officials felt it was needed (Hunt, 1993). A problem with jacketing is it can be used by prisoners to get someone moved that they don’t like, by simply going to a supervisor as a confidential informant and pointing someone out as a gang member. Another popular form of gang control is putting
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