Violence in Prisons Related to Gangs

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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One of the key guarantee threats in American correctional facilities is gang related violence. Prison facilities are brought up with emerging difficulties connected to gang related violence for examples such as drugs, murder, extortion, gambling, abuse of religious freedom by plastering hate in the title of religion, “racial enmity” and “racial extremism which is the highest factor of this problem of racial conflict in the facilities. Some of the guarantee threat groups/gangs providing to the horrific matters are: The Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerilla Family, Folk Nation, Mexican Mafia and MS 13.

Aryan Brotherhood which is also called the Brand or AB is a dangerous white race group and national crime syndicate. This gang was founded in San Quentin State Prison, California in 1964 by Irish bikers as a form of safety for white prisoners in newly desegregated prisons, and is today’s oldest, largest and deadliest prison gang members in the United States. With an estimated 20,000 people and increasing both inside prisons and on the streets. Their quote is “blood in, blood out”, which mean “one is in for life and the only way out is death.” Like many other gangs the Aryan Brotherhood people wear multiple tattoos with the main being the shamrock (clover leaf) depicting the Irish Holy Trinity, the letter AB, the swastika, the number 88 (Hail Hitler) and the 666. Corresponding to the FBI AB only makes up 0.1% of the prison residents, but they are in control of almost 30% of the assassinations within federal prison system. Other illegal crimes exist of drug trafficking, extortion, inmate prostitution and murder for hire both in the prison system and outside. This gang is divided into two groups one in the federal correctional systems and the other which is divided into numerous faction within the state prison systems, mainly California. Each clique is then managed by a three- man commission, who watches the gang activities. The group at lower levels differes from prison to prison. Prisons like the Arizona prison members of the Aryan Brotherhood are known as “kindred” and are grouped into “families” which is supervused by a council. New recruits called “progeny” and are mentored by the kindred affiliated gang members. Aryan Brotherhood is a white race group they have alliance with other gang such, Gambino Crime Family, Irish Mob and La Eme (the Mexican Mafia) and the explanation is because the two are close enemies of the Black Guerrilla Family.

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The Black Guerilla Family, or the Black Family or the Black Vanguard, is an African American prison and street gang founded in 1966 by George Jackson, a former member of the Black Panther Party and W.L. Nolen. The two founded the Black Guerilla Family while they were incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison in Marian County California. The Black Guerilla Family is one of the oldest and most feared gangs. There is an estimated 300 full members with an estimated 50, 000 associates to the gang. The Black Guerilla Family was inspired by Marcus Garvey, a black Jamaican political leader. The Black Guerilla Family was founded with the achievements of removing racism, maintaining dignity in prison and displacing the United States Members of the gang usually wear a BGF tattoo in gothic text with a rifle crossed with a bloody sword or the numbers 276, each number representing the relating letter of the alphabet in BGF. The BGF has a wide range of ties with many street gangs such as Symbonise Liberation Army, Gangster Disciples, Crips and Bloods, most of the members in prison were previously members of multiple gangs before being locked up. Some are connected with the street gangs in Chicago, but most of its members are concentrated in the East and the West Coast. Some of the gang activities conducted by the BGF include drug trafficking, murder, robbery and extortion.

Folk Nation or Folk, is an alliance of Americans street gang that originated in the Chicago area in 1978. Folk Nation was originally formed in the Illinois Department of Corrections by the Black Gangster Disciple under the leadership of Larry Hoover. The main concept of Folk Nation was to bring the black, Hispanic and white gangs together under one “umbrella”, The Folk Nation, and Larry Hoover being the “King” or supreme leader. Each gang has their very own sign as well as colors but they show alliance to Folk Nation with some of the tattoos they wear and they greet each other with the term “All is one”.Folk Nation is estimated to have over 50,000 members in the Chicago City area, over 200,000 members in the country and over 600,000 members nationwide. Majority of the gangs that are a part of Folk Nation are black and Hispanic, but race is not a factor when joining because the alliance also has white gangs as well as other ethnic groups. Folk Nation is strongest in the Chicago and Florida prison system than anywhere else. The gang’s activities include drug trafficking, extortion and murder. Folk Nation is responsible for over 75% of the murders, drug deals and extortions committed in the prisons. One of the major Folk Nation alliances in the Black Gangster Disciple. This gang extends itself all the way into the U.S. Military.

The Mexican Mafia, AKA La Eme, is a highly organized Mexican American criminal organization founded by Luis “Huero Buff: Flores in 1957 in the San Joaquin California Deuel Vocational Institution. Members of the gang can be identified by their tattoos. One being the image of a black hand and the national symbol of Mexico, and eagle and a snake atop a flaming circle over crossed knives. Gang activities inside and outside the prisons include money laundering, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping, racketeering, extortion, illegal immigration, fraud and murder. Some of La Eme’s alliances include MS 13, Sinaloa Cartel and Aryan Brotherhood. Their rivals include the Crips, Bloods, Juarez Cartel, Black Guerilla Family and Latin Kings. La Eme is the most powerful gang within the California prison system. Even with the California Department of Corrections transferring some of the gangs most violent and hardcore members into other adult facilities, the gang was still able to conduct hits from inside the prison. One of the victims was a correctional officer. La Eme hasan estimate of 30,000 members, including those in the correctional system. Their main objective was to show reverence to their Maya and Aztec heritage, but more importantly to protect its members from prison guards and fellow inmates.

AKA Mara Salvatrucha 13, is recognized as one of the most violent and dangerous gangs in the United States. MS 13 was created in Los Angeles in the 1980s by a group of Salvadoran immigrants who migrated to the United States after the 1980 Civil War. MS 13’s main objective was to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other gangs, mainly African Americans and Mexicans. MS 13 is estimated to have over 60,000 members and associates nationwide and their allies include, Mexican Mafia, Yakuza, Sinola Cartel, La Familia Michoacán and Los Zetas. Some of their rivals are the Latin Kings, Bloods, Crips, 18th Street Gangs, Tijuana Cartel, Juárez Cartel and Los Negros. MS 13’s gang activities include drug,are into racketeering, blackmail, money laundering, prostitution, intent to deliver drugs and other illegal activities. In carrying out their street business, they are particularly savage. The gang has been tied to rapes and kidnappings, violent assaults and, most famously, some horrific murders.

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These prison gangs: Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerilla Family, Mexican Mafia, and MS 13 are all extremely violent. They all do not share the same beliefs but are similar. Each one of them are extremely organized and efficient. All show that they are intelligent and structured. They have turned a crime groups into multiple criminal enterprises. They run their gangs as if they were corporations. Loyalty lies among them all. They have run through the course of time and all still active and strong today. The government has tried to put them all to end but have ceased to do so. Strides have been taken by bringing towards numerous indictments, but still they all rise.

Prison gangs disrupt correctional programming, threaten the safety of inmates and staff, and erode institutional quality of life. The history, beliefs, structure, and evaluations were expressed about the prison gangs Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerilla Family, Mexican Mafia, and MS 13. Their rise to power and how they have prospered in the corrections of the US and abroad were expressed in detail. There is no slowing down or getting rid of these organizations. To call them gangs after learned about their history and background is an understatement. It must be acknowledged that these are not just gangs. They are criminal enterprises that are intelligent, loyal, and diligent. They are the force to be reckoned with.


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Violence in Prisons related to gangs. (2019, May 29). Retrieved from