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date: 19 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on types of prison gangs and the reasons for the proliferation of gangs in some American prisons today. Similarities and differences between street and prison gangs and what differentiates them from other types of criminal groups are described. The threats to prison security and inmate safety are discussed along with how the existence of gangs necessarily interferes with the delivery of effective treatment. The appearance and expansion of prison gangs and gang members is described, as well as the patterns of prison gangs and theories that may account for their emergence and growth. The chapter examines original data collected as part of a larger study of gangs in four cities. Views of gang members while imprisoned are presented, including commentary on relationships between their prison and street gang activities, and the role of the prison in the decisions of some gang members to leave their gang.

Keywords: prison gangs, street gangs, American prisons, inmate safety, prison security

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