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Prison Gang: The effect on safety and security in United States Corrections - Research Paper Example

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Running Head: PRISON GANGS Prison gangs in California prisons: Prison control and recidivism Abstract The following paper provides a discussion on misconduct in California Prisons with a focus on gang activity. A discussion about the statistics of the California justice system is followed by an overview of the top five prison gangs in the California prison system…
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Prison Gang: The effect on safety and security in United States Corrections
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Download file to see previous pages Key Terms: Prison – an institution of incarceration Recidivism – a return to prison after having been released due to a subsequent crime Gang – an organized group of men who actively create goals that are related to illegal activity in order to serve both protection and survival needs Protection – a sense that others cannot harm one because a group has formed to ensure retribution that is worse than the risk of harming a member of the group Prison gangs in California prisons: Prison control and recidivism Introduction The existence of a powerful set of groups within the California prison system has created a dynamic that has not always left the prison administration in charge of their populations. The burden of the system has created an environment in which the disenfranchised can come together to form their own political systems with justice and habit being defined from within the population of prisoners. There are a great number of gangs in the prison system, but the top five are the Mara Salvatrucha MS-13, Black Guerrilla Family, Mexican Mafia, La Nuestra Familia and the Aryan Brotherhood. Methods of cognitive behavioral treatment have been successful in making changes in post-prison behaviors. However, the dynamics of dominance within a prison are difficult to address, aggressive action serving to further unite the gangs, while less aggressive treatment does not end the gang and allows for a sense of ‘deliberate indifference’ to the consequences of incarceration that violate the safety of prisoners from one another. The nature of California prison dynamics is such that the dynamics of the relations of power and dominance create a violent atmosphere, controlled by the will of the gangs rather than the prison authorities. One of the most startling statistics about the nature of the prison system in California is that 66% of released prisoners will return to prison within three years. Beyond the dangers that recidivism presents to the public, the system in California is rife with higher rates of homicide, suicide, and assaults than the national average. The system is burdened by the higher rates of pay given to guards through the efforts of a strong union, creating a system that, despite a more than 66 billion dollar budget, is unable to well serve the needs of the prisoners, creating strife and encouraging internal gangs to provide what the state does not alternatively provide (Petersili, 2008, p. 207). The gang system in the California system has grown strong, with a set of rules and a hierarchal structure that is gaining momentum in creating power structures within the prison populations. In the late twentieth century, increases in prison populations have more than quadrupled, where in 1973 there was an average of 110 per 100,000 of the overall population who were incarceration, but by 2005, 491 per 100,000 of the overall population are put into prison per year. With the existing prisoners counted, that figure becomes 738 per 100,000. This translates to mean that more than 2.3 million people in the United States are in prison (Petersili 2008, p. 207). The California Prison system, by March of 2007, had 171,800 prisoners, constituting the largest prison population amongst the fifty states (Petersili, 2008, 209). California Prison Gangs The following ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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