Prison Gang, Authority and Hierarchy

Another characteristic that the US prison gangs share (at least, the dominant US prison gangs alive and operating until today) is the presence of authority and hierarchy inside the organization. Despite the absence of the system of written laws, the members of these gangs are motivated and ruled by the tradition that is passed on from one generation to the next (Hensley 4). The hierarchy, and how it change hands over time, is something that the gangs maintain. There is a semblance of order inside the group so that the group can remain strong and united.

“Traditional prison gangs are generally highly structured and well organized, with a distinguished hierarchy (Hensley 4). ” According to the author, an important characteristic of these gangs is the leader that commands the respect and obedience of the gang members (Hensley 4). The gang leader commanding every US prison gang should have a set of characteristics that includes a strong personality, as well as the effective use of force and strength and the ability scheme and to use violence to achieve ends.

“The leader of the gang is strong and forceful, often resorting to violence to achieve their desired goal (Hensley 4). ” Leaders should also have skills like sufficient literacy, as well as command of the use of technology. These capabilities are some of the things that gang leaders need to use and maximize to become efficient leader and to efficiently lead the gang and its undertakings. “Gang leaders use cellular telephones to facilitate and coordinate gang activity inside and outside the prison (Cassel, Bernstein 262). ” Prison Gangs: Defeating the Purpose

Oddly, some of the gangs in the US prison seemed to be defeating the purpose for which they have built the organization in the first place. It is quite strange that most of the gangs were formed with the ideals that modern day version of the gangs violate. Take for example, the case of the gang Neta. According to the brief history provided in an article found in the Florida Department of Corrections website, this group was created because the founding members believed that the creation of something akin to brotherhood would put to a stop the existing violence that inmates inside the prison experience everyday.

Today, the group Neta is one of the gangs in the US prison that is notorious for its participation in violent acts directed against the enemies of the gangs (which often are inmates as well) (Major 6). Indeed, it seems that the sharp end of the stick of these gangs which was thought to be directed at the enemies of the gangs and its members have become the same threat that the members of the gangs themselves are threatened with. Remember that these gang members joined gangs so that they can protect themselves from the threat of violence.

But now, inside the gangs that they joined, gang members are posed with the same threat to life by the members and leaders of the gangs that turn to its members especially during times when the members are not doing what they are told or if the members are missing their responsibilities (Hensley 4). “Research has revealed that throughout the United States, prison gangs account for the majority of prison violence, in particular, homicide and assaults often prompted by member’s failure to repay their debts (Hensley 4).

” Because of the violence felt by the US prison gang members coming from their own gangs, some drift towards joining other groups once outside the prison facility. These people, according to the analysts have the tendency to enjoy their life in the street gang compared to their life in the prison gang because of the difference in treatment between street gangs and prison gangs. “The strict rules and vicious sanctions that accompany the prison gang are not needed in the streets, and not wanted (Samaha 489).

” Returning in their respective locales and moving in a bigger place compared to that which a prisoner was used to during prison life, distinctions can be made once the individual has experienced the life of street gang and prison gang. “When street gang members leave prison, they generally return to their barrio or ‘hood’ and reconnect with their street gang friends. In most cases, the lure of this group proves far stronger than that of the prison gangs (Samaha 489). ”

While there are those who claim that street gangs are directly connected with prison gangs, there are critics who believe that their are also street gangs which have members that are displeased with the life in the prison gangs that the street gangs move away from their affiliation from prison gangs; while others maintain such ties, but live a life that is more relaxed compared to the rigorous life as a member of a particular prison gang (Klein 58). “The prison gang’s rules of behavior may be easily enforced inside the ‘joint,’ but outside the relationships are too shaky and occasional to allow for their ready enforcement (Klein 58). ”

Controlling Prison Gangs Because of the presence of US prison gangs, the different correctional agencies and penology departments in the country has been consistently on the look out for the type of violence these gangs will do next. The US prison gangs have been known for its penchant for acts of violence which disrupts the life of the inmates inside the prison, as well as those who are providing service to the prisoners. The US prison gangs are the frequent target of authorities when it comes to implementing suppression strategies and identifying new and better tactics to suppress the presence and eruption of violence inside the prison.

These gangs have always been the primary source of violence inside prisons. “A strong suppression approach seems to be based primarily on the assumption of actual or threatened violence created by gangs in a prison (Spergel 240). ” But Spergel also counters this proposition since there can also be other alternatives for suppression especially with the consideration that US prison gangs are not always the source of prison-related problems (Spergel 240). Spergel adds that another possible approach maybe the use of caution “since prison violence may not always be a direct result of inter-gang friction (Spergel 240).

” Conclusion More and more people are being educated about prison gangs because this is real. They are somewhat significant in their own right and the media and mass information systems ensure that this aspect of the society is exposed to the public. “Prison gangs have received a lot of attention over the past decade (Samaha 489). ” The US prison gangs and its continued operation and existence are solid proof about what is wrong in the correctional and penology system today.

There is inability of authorities to be fair to be everyone and to provide protection to those who are unjustly threatened and to suppress those who are exerting influence and power to exploit other inmates inside the prison. The penchant for corruption of the prison authorities and prison gangs are very convenient sources of financial and other rewards and gains for them. There is also poor management of the government with regards to handling the prisoners during their stay as inmates.

The US prison gangs find their reason and means for continuing their existence and their operation. If the society and the government are indeed bent on helping these people and at the same time crushing these gangs, an important first step is the correction of correctional and prison cultures that make the creation of prison gangs a necessity among inmates. “The effective and just treatment of racial minorities, together with the elimination of divide-and-rule mentalities in prisons is perhaps the largest challenge of the US prison system today (Stacy 670).

” Prison gangs have been one of the problems of the society which has been present for a long period of time. They exist because of a particular purpose. As this trend continues, the society can expect more of the results of the presence of street gangs to manifest itself, like inter-ethnic friction and collision among individuals who have different social and racial backgrounds. “The emergence of prison gangs increased racial polarization and the level of racial violence among prisoners (Mutua 164). ”