With the increase of street gangs, prisons see a rise in gang activity such as race related crime, drug trafficking, and inmate protection. “Today’s street gangs are becoming tomorrow’s prison gangs. Institutional managers report that the “drive-by shooting mentality” has moved into the prisons and jails as the young offenders have been convicted of various gang-related offenses.” (Carlson, Peter M., Jan. 2001).
Although there is a correlation between the two, researchers are clear of the differences between street and prison gangs. Curry and Decker distinguish them by highlighting those gangs within the institutional setting as being more organized and more disciplined than their counterparts in the community. They note that there are relationships between the two groupings, but “it is not a seamless move from one to the other, and the differences can be quite profound.” (Curry & Decker, 1998).
If there is a distinguishable difference between the two types of security threat groups, what is being done to control them? For over 50 years prison officials have dealt with the problem of gangs within the cell block walls and over the years it has evolved and shaping due to changing times, “but all jurisdictions today continue to utilize variants of two philosophies: suppression and intervention.” (Carlson, Peter M., Jan 2001).
Today I’m going to be speaking to you about the street gang known as the Bloods. I will be discussing the origin of the gang, some of the gang’s important members and the impact the gang has on the present day. It all began in 1971 when the gang that eventually came to establish the Bloods was created. The name of this gang was the Piru Street Boys and they were actually a set of the Crip gang, ...
The idea of suppression is to center on identifying individual group members by tracking their individual disruptive behavior. The member is then removed from general population, “and interruption of their negative influence by placing them in a Special Housing Unit (SHU) if their conduct becomes a problem.” (Carlson, Peter M., Jan 2001).
This method takes a significant amount of time and effort to seek out the predominant problems and punish them one by one with isolation. “Understanding career criminals, their perceptions, characteristics, and traits as individuals should rank among the most paramount objectives of improving officer safety.” (Allender, David M., June 2003).
Intervention programs offer a way out for gang affiliates by educating the violator. “Institutional-based gang programs tend to utilize general education efforts mixed with specific cognitive-behavioral interventions.” (Carlson, Peter M., Jan 2001).
Many argue that individuals forced to enter program are more likely to cooperate with the benefit of removal from lock-down status. “Scholars have clearly identified that programs focused on cognitive behavioral change have had good outcomes.” (Andrews, Zinger, Hoge, Bonta, Gendreau, & Cullen, 1990).
Although suppression is proven to show results, it is uncertain if inmates comply for the right reasons. Suppression is a good temporary solution, using an out of sight, out of mind perspective, but is a burden on the prison staff and proves to be difficult to identify problems until they occur. Also, suppression is only useful for a short period of time and space is limited for inmate isolation.
In other words, what happens when these same individuals are re-released into general population? Intervention proves to be a smart solution to attack the internal structure of the security threat groups and keep prison gang numbers under control. Although this idea is proven to show results, what will it cost? In addition, how is it certain inmates will comply for the right reasons? The popular mentality in present gangs both in prison and on the street is a, “blood-in, blood-out” belief. This is the idea that to be qualified for initiation one must kill another person and in order to leave the gang the member must be killed. This belief makes it very difficult to intervene with the workings of some threat groups. 1. Career Criminals, Security Threat Groups, and Prison Gangs.
Group Dynamics Introduction A set of individuals in the same surrounding constitute to a group. In these groups certain norms are established which have a great influence on the ultimate behavior of individuals in the group. Norms are a set of beliefs of how individuals should relate and behave. Examples of factors that influence group members to conform to the group norms include ...
By: Allender, David M.; Marcell, Frank. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Jun2003, Vol. 72 Issue 6 2. Prison Interventions: Evolving Strategies To Control Security Threat Groups. By: Carlson, Peter M.. Corrections Management Quarterly, Jan2001, Vol. 5 Issue 1 3.
Curry, G.D., & Decker, S.H. (1998).
Confronting gangs. Crime and community. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company. 4. Jankowski, M.S.
Islands in the sun. Gangs and American urban society. Berkeley: University of California Press. 5. Andrews, D.A., Zinger, I., Hoge, R., et al.
Does correctional treatment work? A clinically relevant and psychologically informed meta-analysis. Criminology, 28, 97-104..