The La Nuestra Familia prison gang started in Soledad Prison, California in middle 1960s. The gang was formed to protect young and rural Mexican-American prison inmates from other gangs and also from other urban Mexican-American gangs such as the Mexican mafia. The La Nuestra Familia started on the US West Coast but has spread to other parts of the US. Prison transfers are often to blame for the spread of prison gangs. As stated earlier, members of this gang are of Hispanic origin. They also have a “blood in/blood out” requirement for membership. This is a similar feature among prison gangs in the US.
The target for the “blood in” ritual may be a member of a rival prison gang, a prison official or an erring member of the gang itself. The “blood in/blood out” ritual is useful to prevent infiltration of the gang. For example, an undercover security agent will not want to kill someone to become a member of the group. This protects the gang. The structure of the La Nuestra Familia is patterned after the military. There are ranks from soldier all the way to General and members advance along these ranks. There are specified requirements for promotion from one rank to the other.
Members of the gangs rise along the ranks based on their achievement. The La Nuestra Familia prison gang has a different organizational structure from the street gang variety of it. The street gang has a unique organizational structure. Tattoos are a major form of identification used by members of the La Nuestra Familia prison gang. The tattoos worn by members of the group include: sombreno, a dagger and the alphabets “NF. ” These identify members of the gang. It is important to note that tattoos are common among members of prison gangs and are not only used as a means of identification.
Gilbert explains the additional meaning and use of tattoos among gang members when he writes that, These gang members were tattooed to demonstrate their ability to endure pain, show their affiliation, and to permanently separate themselves from normal society. (78) On the other hand, members of the La Nuestra Famillia also wear red rags as a form of identity. The La Nuestra Familia is associated to a large extent with the Black Guerillas. The gang is also referred to as: Nancy Flores, LNF, NF, ENE, or F. Mexican Mafia As a prison gang, the Mexican Mafia originated in the 1950s.
It started in the California department of corrections. This makes the Mexican mafia the oldest prison gang in the US. This gang originated from a desire for protection. Originally, the Mexican Mafia was a street gang but has gradually metamorphosed into a prison gang in Los Angeles. The gang is known to be violent towards anyone who crosses the path of its gang. The Mexican mafia is also known as “Emily, EME, or Emeros. ” The Mexican mafia promotes ethnic solidarity and it is also involved in drug trafficking. As the name of the gang suggests, members of the group are Mexican American.
However, it is important to note that the group is aligned to the Aryan Brotherhood. This connection was made possible by Joe Morgan, a Caucasian of Yugoslavian origin who was involved in drug trafficking with the Mexican mafia. The connection which Joe Morgan had with the Mexican mafia via drug trafficking made him align the group with the Aryan Brotherhood. Apart from the Aryan Brotherhood, the Mexican mafia is associated with Arizona’s old Mexican mafia, New Mexico syndicate, Mexikanemi (from Texas), and other Latino street gangs in urban areas.
On the other hand, the Mexican mafia is opposed to the following prison gangs: La Nuestra Familia, Northern Structure; Arizona’s New Mexican Mafia; and the Black Guerilla Family. The Mexican mafia is often confused with the Mexikanemi from Texas, but both gangs are distinct. The similarity between both groups is that they share similar tattoos and because of this similarity, it is easy to conclude, rather erroneously, that both groups are the same. The structure of the Mexican Mafia is patterned after the military. In the Mexican mafia there are Generals, Colonels, Lieutenants, Captains and Soldiers.
In some respects, the Mexican mafia imitates the modus operandi of the Italian mafia in the aspect of organization and discipline. Although the Mexican mafia originated in California, it is found in throughout Federal Prisons in the US. There are a number of rules that are kept by members of the Mexican Mafia. In the first place, Valentine notes that rules of conduct are written and approved by members of the gang. Members of the Mexican mafia are expected to place the gang above everything else including: self, state, church, family, etc. A confirmed member of the gang is expected to carry out murders without raising any question.
Once a murder is required by the gang, it must be done- nothing must stop it. If a member is a required to execute a murder but fails to do it, such a member will be put to death. Members are expected never to trust prison staff. The business of the mafia must be carried out regardless of prison rules. Any insult or disrespect on any member of the Mexican mafia by any inmate is often speedily avenged. Inmates are forced to respect members of the Mexican mafia. Members of the gang are to be supportive of one another in all cases. Homosexual activity among members of the mafia is strongly forbidden.