Prison Gangs and Street Gangs

There are other reasons for the formation of prison gangs. One of these reasons is the resulting continuation of street gangs inside the prison after members and significant leaders of particular street gangs become incarcerated. This is also an integral part of the discussion on the connection of street gangs to prison gangs, which is discussed in the paper also. “Following incarceration, numerous gang leaders still maintain complete control over their street gang members and simultaneously form prison gangs (Hensley 4). ”

Mutua agrees to this particular proposition, writing about how the street gangs and the characteristics of these street gangs made their way inside the inmate culture of the US prison houses. The proposition acts as a catalyst for the start of the culture of the formation, presence and soon, influence of the prison gangs among inmates, as well as on some of the prison staff (Mutua 164). “Prison gangs largely derived from street gangs that imported their organizational structure, leadership, hierarchies, and activities into correctional facilities (Mutua 164).

” Sometimes there are instances wherein the street gangs paved the way for the creation of prison gangs, especially after members of a particular prison gang tried to get together after life in incarceration and created a new group outside of the prison and the prison gang. Take for example, the case of the prison gang members of Pura Vida. According to Peterson, Krivo and Hagan organized a group of their own once outside the prison and outside the prison gang’s reach.

“According to interviews with ex-felons, when members of Pura Vida began to be released from penal institutions, they organized themselves into a criminal network outside the prison (Peterson 288). ” In any case, the idea of street gang and prison gangs and how the two are connected to each other (i. e. the two are separate from each other, the two are directly link with one acting as the source and the other acting as a result of the other, or if the two are exchanging places depending on the situation) seems interchangeable.

The prison gang’s role in a particular pattern may be the role of the street gang in another pattern and vice versa. “In the United States today, there are a variety of street gangs as well as prison gangs, with a great deal of crossover between the street and the prison context (De Mello 125). ” Manning also believed that if the line connecting prison gangs and street gangs is not present, then members of the prison gang evolve into something else once their incarceration is over, usually, the creation of street/criminal gangs when the individuals are no longer in jail.

“In the last 20 years, some groups in US prison have evolved into self-perpetuating criminal gangs. Several operate both in and out of prison and have taken one of the characteristics of true organized crime associations (Manning 177). ” US Prison Gangs and its Connection to Street Gangs Many analysts believe that the US prison gangs became very powerful and influential that street gangs affiliated with US prison gangs.

Through the years, though, it has become difficult to know for sure if the inmate was a street gang member before he or she was a prison gang member or if it was the other way around, especially when a person is in jail very often. “The cycling of individuals into prison, back onto the street, and back into prison again has become so pronounced that it is hard to distinguish gang members recruited in prison from those recruited on the street (Mutua 164). ” Members of the street gangs have a very good chance in landing inside prison facilities.

Once there, the street gang is not powerful and they are defenseless. So in order to protect itself and its members, the street gangs allied themselves with prison gangs so that the individual is protected during his/her stay inside the prison. “For example, the Surenos – in these context Mexican American street gang members join the Mexican Mafia once inside prison (Stacy 670). ” Recruitment for street gang members maybe easier as they are already indoctrinated, more or less, to the lifestyle and rigors of being a gang member.

Sometimes, gang members wait for new inmates and immediately invite those who are prior gang members. “Certainly it is true that many street gang members are recruited into the prison gangs when they arrive at the gates (Samaha 489). ” This was a development that the US prison gangs used to their advantage. Through their connection to street gangs, the US prison gangs were able to extend their influence, as well as criminal operation outside the prison walls. “Street gangs also became incorporated within the prison gangs, strengthening gang control of criminal activities throughout the state (Stacy 670).

” Drug trafficking, as well as murder for hire services, are just some of the criminal acts that the US prison gangs involve themselves in the past. But now that they have a link in the outside world, these prison gangs extended these criminal actions outside of prison, using gang members who have been freed who connected themselves with street gangs that are their allies. But even when imprisoned they are still capable for criminal actions via the ties to street gangs (Klein 33).

“Prison gangs often call the shots for the street gang (Klein 33). ” Still, there are those who believe that there is no direct connection between the street gangs and the prison gangs. “Although media reports often suggest a close tie between prison and street gangs, experts generally minimize the connection (Samaha 489). ” These stem from the belief that while affiliations and alliances are never impossible especially in the world of organized crime, these are not fixed positions of groups and gangs.

At the end of the day, these gangs are still competitors to each other and battle each other for the clientele for the products and services that they offer. Another reason is that there are those who believe that street gang members are not automatically converted to prison gang members. “Just because a street gang member enters prison, it does not mean that the individual will necessarily become a prison gang member (Watkins, Ashby 10). ”