Prison gangs are now in the Philippines and Worldwide
Prison gang is a term used to denote any type of gang activity in prisons and correctional facilities. Prison officials and others in law enforcement use the term security threat group or STG. The concept for this name is to take away the recognition and publicity that the term “gang” connotates when referring to people who have an interestin undermining the system.
Most prison gangs do more than offer simple protection for their members. Most often, prison gangs are responsible for any drug, tobacco or alcohol handling inside correctional facilities. Furthermore, many prison gangs involve themselves in prostitution, assaults, kidnappings and murders. Prison gangs often seek to intimidate other inmates (pressuring them to relinquish their food and other resources) and bribe or intimidate prison staff (to ensure they can go about their activities without interference, and to create links to the outside).
In addition, prison gangs often exercise a large degree of influence over organized crime in the “free world”, larger than their isolation in prison might lead one to expect. Since the 1980s, larger prison gangs have consciously worked to leverage their influence inside prison systems to control and profit from drug trafficking on the street. This is made possible based upon the logic that individuals involved in selling illegal drugs face a high likelihood of serving a prison term at some point or in having a friend or family member in prison. The cooperation of drug dealers and other criminals can be secured due to the credible threat of violence upon incarceration if it is not provided. Prison gang members and associates who are released are usually expected to further the gang’s activities after their release and may face danger if they refuse and are returned to prison, such as on a parole violation. The War on Drugs also led to large numbers of drug addicts serving prison terms, providing gangs with a significant method of asserting control within the prison and by controlling the drug trade that happens on the yard and behind bars.
Prison gangs can also be responsible for laundering money from outside gangs, usually the free world branches of the same gangs “on the inside.”
Most correctional facilities have policies prohibiting the formation of prison gangs. However, many prison gangs continue to operate with impunity. As these gang members are already in prison, and often serving long sentences, any punishment incentive to leave a gang or to integrate with the general prison population is reduced.
Prison gangs often have several “affiliates” or “chapters” in different state prison systems that branch out due to the movement or transfer of their members. Smaller prison gangs may associate with or declare allegiance to larger ones. In addition, some prison gang “chapters” may split into antagonistic groups that become rivals, as the MexicanMafia did in Arizona (into the “Old” or “Original” Mexican Mafia associated with the original California gang and the “New Mexican Mafia”, a rival group).
In the United States
Aryan Brotherhood: A white prison gang that originated in California’s San Quentin Prison, amongst White American prisoners, in 1964 (their emblem, “the brand”, consists of a shamrock and the number 666). Perhaps out of their ideology and the necessity of establishing a presence among the more numerous Black and Hispanic gang members, the AB has a particular reputation for ruthlessness and violence. Since the 1990s, in part because of this reputation, the AB has been targeted heavily by state and federal authorities. Many key AB members have been moved to “supermax” control-unit prisons at both the federal and state level or are under federal indictment.
Nazi Lowriders: A newer white prison gang that emerged after many Aryan Brotherhood members were sent to the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay or transferred to federal prisons. NLR is associated with members originally from the Antelope Valley and is known to accept some light-skinned or Caucasian-identified Hispanic members.
La Eme or the Mexican Mafia: “Eme” is the Spanish name of the letter “M” and it is the 13th letter in the alphabet. The Mexican mafia are composed mostly of Hispanics, although some Caucasian members exist. The Mexican Mafia and the Aryan Brotherhood are allies and work together to control prostitution, drug running, weapons and “hits” or murders. Originally formed in the 1950s in California prisons by Hispanic prisoners from the southern part of that state, Eme has traditionally been composed of US-born or raised Hispanics and has retained ties to the Southern California-based “Sureños”. During the 1970s and 1980s, Eme in California established the model of leveraging their power in prison to control and profit from criminal activity on the street.
Nuestra Familia (“our family” in Spanish): The “N” is the 14th letter in the alphabet which is used as their symbol,along with the Roman numeral “XIV” to represent their gang, another mostly Hispanic prison gang that is constantly at war with La Eme and was originally formed from Northern-California or rural-based Hispanic prisoners opposing the domination by La Eme, which was started by and associated with Los Angeles gang members.
The Texas Syndicate: A mostly Texas-based prison gang that includes mostly Hispanic members and does (albeit rarely) allow Caucasian members. The Texas Syndicate, more than La Eme or Nuestra Familia, has been associated or allied with Mexican immigrant prisoners, such as the “Border Brothers”, while Eme and Familia tend to be composed of and associate with US-born or raised Hispanics.
Most African-American prison gangs retain their street gang names and associations. These commonly include Rollin’ sets (named after streets, i.e. Rollin’ 30′s, Rollin’ 40′s etc.) that can identify with either Blood or Crip affiliations. The Black Guerilla Family represents an exception, as an originally politically-based group that has a significant presence in prisons and prison politics.
Netas: a Hispanic (mainly Puerto Rican) gang, found on Puerto Rico and on the eastern coast of the US.
United Blood Nation: an African-American prison gang found on the east coast. They are rivals with the Netas and have ties with the Black Guerilla Family.
Folk Nation: Found in Midwestern and Southern states, allied with Crips, bitter rivals with the People Nation.
People Nation: Found in Midwestern and Southern states, allied with Bloods, bitter rivals with the Folk Nation.
D.C. Blacks: Found in Washington D.C. by African-American inmates, are alliged with the BGF and UBN and enemies to
AB and MM.
European Kindred: a white supremacist prison gang founded in Oregon that is affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood
and the Ku Klux Klan.
Confederate Knights of America: a white supremacist prison gang in Texas that is affiliated with the KKK and AB.
Aryan Circle: a white supremacist prison gang affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and the KKK.
Dead Man Incorporated (DMI): a predominately white prison gang founded in the Maryland Correctional System with branches in many other correctional facilities throughout the U.S.
Conservative Vice Lords (CVL): A primarily African American gang that originated in the St. Charles Illinois Youth Center outside Chicago.[ In Chicago, CVL operated primarily in the Lawndale section and used drug sales profits to continue operation and used prisons to train and recruit new members.
Aryan Brotherhood of Texas: a white supremacist prison gang affiliated with the AB and the KKK.