Prison Gangs and the Threat of Violence

Acts of violence is believed to exist in any possible place as long as there is an individual or group of people that have the intent to do so. The motive of the perpetrators of violence may tend to differ but the means that they use are always regarded as violent acts. The presence of violence can indeed be observed even in facilities that are under supervised with strict authority. This is greatly exemplified by the presence of prison gangs wherein despite the fact that they are under the watchful eyes of many police and jail officers they can still go about doing their violent behavior.

This kind of untoward conduct also poses a threat to the security of other prisoners who are not a member of any particular prison gang and even jail officers are at risk especially during riots. Prison gang is a term that pertains to any type of gang activity in and prisons and correctional facilities. Prison officials as well as other law enforcers also refer them to as the Security Threat Group.

Security Threat Group or STC is defined as “group, gang or inmate organizations that have been determined to be acting in concert so as to pose a threat to the safety of staff, public safety, the secure and orderly operation of a correctional institution or are predatory upon other inmates” (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2009). Referring to these people as Security Threat Group is a strategy in order to remove the recognition and publicity that the term “gang” connotes when describing people who have an objective of undermining the system.

Moreover, this is a strategy by which gangs can be easily identified and managed (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2009). Most of the time, the prison gangs do not simple function as a safe haven for their members. Usually, prison gangs are the one responsible in handling and using any drugs, tobacco, and alcohol inside correctional facilities. These prison gangs are also involved in prostitution, assaults, kidnappings, and murders. They often operate by intimidating their other inmates and pressuring even bullying them to surrender their food and other resources for the consumption of the gang (_______).

Prison gangs also pose a threat not only within correctional facilities but also in the “free word. ” These gangs have a large degree of influence in the outside world despite the fact that they are confide in isolation within their respective prisons. This is proven in the 1980s “War on Drugs” wherein the large increase in the prison population was related to the high profits for drug trafficking. This is due to the fact that large prison gangs collaborated with each other to leverage their influence inside the prison system so that they can control the selling of drugs on the street.

The possible explanation behind this situation is the logic that people who take part in selling illegal drugs are more susceptible to serve a term in prison at some point or they have family members or friends in prison. The connivance among drug dealers and criminals can be secured because they use threat of violence whenever the drug dealer is incarcerated if ever they do not perform their end of the bargain. Prison gang members and their affiliates who were released from prison are expected to continue the activities of their gangs. Furthermore, prison gangs are also responsible for laundering money to outside gangs (Rodgers, n.

d. ). Majority of correctional facilities already have a policy that prohibits the formation of prison gangs. Nevertheless, many prison gangs still persist and continue with their operations under impunity. This is because many of its members are serving life imprisonment while others are in the death row, which is why they do not have incentive or purpose to leave their gangs. As a result, the existence of prison gangs continues and they even spread out into several affiliates or chapters in various state prison. These prison gangs branch out because of the movement or transfer of their members.

Smaller prison gangs also tend to establish alliances with larger prison gangs to further heighten their influence (Rodgers, n. d. ). References Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (2009). Security Threat Group Introduction. Retrieved February 21, 2009, from http://www. mass. gov/? pageID=eopsterminal&L=4&L0= Home&L1=Law+Enforcement+%26+Criminal+Justice&L2=Prisons&L3=Security+Threat+Group+Information&sid=Eeops&b=terminalcontent&f=doc_securitythreat_stgintro&csid=Eeops. Rodgers, L. (n. d. ). The Duplicity of the War on Drugs. Retrieved February 21, 2009, from http://www. serendipity. li/wod/dupl. html.