In this situation, social structure is the most logical explanation for the behavior of the inmates and the remaining criminal behavior. It is believed many of the individuals had hard struggles before entering the prison, hence the need to rely on gang interactions. The Pelican Bay State Prison was an environment to prove yourself to other gang members and represent the gang. You had to acquire strength, determination, and overall a violent nature. Many fights broke out in that prison, and most prisoners left with more strength and potential to continue in gang violence upon release from the prison.
Gangs in prison is not a new phenomena, gangs in prisons have been prevalent since the 1960’s and continue to have a major role in the corrections system today. To understand why gangs continues to have such a high impact on the system we must look at the history and types of gangs, how they developed in the corrections system and the impact these gangs have on the violence in the prison. What actions are being taken to deplete these gangs of their power and organizations in prison today? First, what is the definition of “gang”? One definition is “a group of criminal or hoodlums who band together for mutual protections and profit”.
The influx of prisoners poses issues such as gang rivalries, and violent confrontations, not only among the prisoners themselves but also between them and the prison guards. At Corcoran State Prison, on “gladiator days” officers forced rival gang members to fight, and shot them both for entertainment(Schlosser). In private Juvenile detention centers such as YSI facilities, staff often choose to not report most assaults and major fights to avoid scrutiny for violating their contracts and the rules of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Overcrowding also leads to inconveniences such as double-bunking, which urges aggression, violence, and stress-induced mental disorders. The incarceration system in the United States has inflicted much damage on societal well-being, caused by privatization of prisons, war on drugs, and overcrowding of prison cells.
There are STG’s that were created outside of the prison walls and were formed on the inside as those members became incarcerated. There are STG’s that are active both inside and outside of the prisons. No matter what kind of gang it is, every gang presents serious problems and concerns for the prisons and for law enforcement outside of the prisons. Of the numerous gangs that operate in the prison systems today there are a few that are larger and better known then others. Some of those larger gangs include, The Aryan Brotherhood, The Black Guerilla Family and The Mexican Mafia.
These new gang chapters sometimes become rivals to the original gang (Major Prison Gangs). Prison gangs are responsible for a wide varity of illegal activities. Along with offering protection to its gang members, prison gangs handle the drug, tobacco, and alcohol trafficking inside the prison. They are able and often bribe or scare other inmates and staff to “look the other way” as they commit their crimes. Larger prison gangs can even influence organized crime outside of prison.
Overcrowding has become a major issue in the United States mainly because nonviolent drug addicted offenders are repeating behaviors and ending up in jail. As a result, criminals are receiving early releases, violence in the institutions is on the rise, and non-violent prisoners are not receiving the rehabilitation that they need. The elimination of federal parole and
Prison gangs offer protection to their members and also try to control the sale of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol inside the correctional facility. In addition, many prison gangs involve themselves in prostitution, assaults, and murders (Prison Gang Profiles, 2006). Prison and law enforcement officials have replaced the
Donna King (Smart Justice) described her experience in jail as “Each prison sentence I went through, my crimes got bigger. I started to learn new things about crime.” While the criminal is in prison they cannot commit crimes, however, when released a large number (44% of Victorian prisoners) reoffend, are caught, and jailed again. Society needs to accept that for the vast majority of criminals, there is no magic wand that can be waved to make them see the error of their ways and lead a crime-free life. They are unable - and do not want - to hold down a regular job; they see crime as a way of life, a source of
Prison life can be very treacherous. Overcrowding exaggerates conflicts and tensions that occur on an average day, which makes the task of keeping the prison secure and safe. Inmates within the prison as a rule are joined by racial groups; at times the racial groups are joined together by gang affiliation. The prison’s surroundings impact the institutional management and custody by the mounting populace and the gangs within the facility. The rise of gang membership has divided the shared system into contending groups, which amplifies the potential for violence.
The physical and psychological impact of prison is far more likely to have a serious and negative impact than a similar sentence would have on an adult prisoner. Juveniles should never be in prison with adults because not only they are more likely to be corrupted by the prison environment, but there is also the persistent danger of abuse including sexual abuse and health risks. ‘The greatest danger is physical and sexual assault by adults housed in the same facility, including inmate trustees who may have access to juveniles in ‘separate’ quarters in jail.’ (Clement 395). Juvenile delinquents need help and a direction in life should be given to them. Placing them in adult prison subjects them to violence and exploitation, and deprives them of the chance to start their new lives.