Gangs in Prison and Prison Crimes

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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are about 33,000 criminally active street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs in the United States. Organized crime groups are made up of individuals who perform illegal activity in order to obtain economical gain, power, and influence among outsiders. Economical gain relates to the amount of trade and benefits coming to and flowing within an organized crime group. Members apart of organized crime groups seek power and influence over others meaning that they want to be seen as a leader and they want the ability to control the behavior of other people. The focus on gangs in prison is important to research in order to understand the existence of gangs. Previous involvement in organized crime can determine whether or not a person chooses to join a gang while incarcerated.

Researchers were able to determine, through surveys, how many gangs there were in a number of prisons in various states. Keeping up to date with the active existence of prison gangs has been difficult for researchers due to the fact that prisons may not have official documentation on gangs in their system and the prisoners themselves may not want to come out directly with stating that they are apart of a gang while serving out their prison sentence. When individuals decide to join a gang in prison they can be seen to develop their sense of identity and freedom that they may have lost. The higher the prison population rises, the more gang members will arise because more safety issues can occur due to backgrounds.

Researchers David Pyrooz, Nancy Gartner, and Molly Smith conducted a study over the course of seven years in Philadelphia and Phoenix to determine whether or not criminals would be more likely to join gangs while in prison versus outside of prison and whether or not having a longer prison sentence would increase a person’s decision to join a gang. The researchers did interviews with the prisoners who were aged 14-17 at the time of their crime.

During the course of the seven years, the researchers found that most of subjects, seventy percent, reported to have no history of gang membership and the remaining percentage were either individuals who were involved in gang membership constantly or individuals were joining or leaving gangs. This study may be used to expand on the proposed thesis by understanding how and why the individuals who have a history of gang involvement continue that membership behind bars. (Pyrooz, Gartner, & Smith, 2017).

Researchers John Winterdyk and Rick Ruddell have used a survey to gather responses from United States prisons to inquire about the occurrence of gang activity. Their survey was given out with the purpose of figuring out if programs in prisons were able to reduce the security threat groups that were found in various prison systems. Security threat groups were defined by Winterdyk and Ruddell as groups of three or more people consistently engaging in threatening or disruptive behavior. The respondents of this particular study were correctional officers who were giving their insight about the gang activity occurring in their prisons. Expansion on this topic would be to develop strategies for reducing the recruitment on gang membership in prison systems and find effective ways for rehabilitation once prisoners are no longer incarcerated. (Winterdyk & Ruddell, 2010).

The study of determining whether or not previous organized crime involvement leads to in prison crime involvement is important in the criminal justice field in order to find the causes of gang membership in prison and to determine factors on how to reduce the gang presence in prisons. This specific study will directly look as the causal factors for individuals for becoming involved in gangs while incarcerated regardless of whether or not they were apart of crime groups prior to imprisonment. Compared to other studies, this one will also determine the most effective rehabilitation strategies that gang members in prison would need to conduct in order to be able to successfully reintegrate into society. People should care about this research because their tax dollars are paying for prisons to exist and the people and their children should be able to feel safe when people come from incarceration and rejoin the community.

Cite this paper

Gangs in Prison and Prison Crimes. (2021, Jun 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gangs-in-prison-and-prison-crimes/



What does Prisonization mean?
Prisonization is the process by which an individual adapts to prison life. It is typically characterized by a change in values, attitudes, and behaviors that align with those of the prison environment.
What is a square in prison?
It is a small room where prisoners are kept alone for punishment.
What is the most secure type of prison?
There is no definitive answer to this question as security measures vary from prison to prison. That being said, maximum security prisons are typically considered to be the most secure type of facility.
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