One clique: why rivals on the streets become allies behind bars.

Author:Campbell, Sharrod

Like many custodial agencies, the Georgia Department of Corrections recognizes the existence of security threat groups (STGs). Awareness of the activities of these groups helps to improve the overall security of a facility because, by definition, these various types of associations and groups have the potential to cause disruption. There are four commonly accepted major categories of STGs:

* Street Gangs--Organizations that have their strongest memberships in the communit;

* Prison Gangs--Organizations formed within a penal setting;

* Extremist/Separatist Groups--Organizations with views that promote seperation or superiority of one group over another based on race, religious beliefs or political ideologies; and

* Motorcycle Clubs--Criminal biker organizations that identify with the 1 percent theory (99 percent of bikers are law abiding; therefore, the other 1 percent are outlaws).


Although there are four accepted categories of STGs, the analysis of threats is not limited to inmates who may fall under one of these headings. It is essential that monitoring is not limited to these groups because the culture of a custodial setting often fosters impraomptu-situational groups that gravitate together around a particular commonality. These situational groupings and associations must also be monitored because they have the potential to compromise security in correctional settings.

Banding Together

Race is one of the strongest commonality factors among inmates within the correctional system. This primary division is often broken down into other groups or associations within the larger group, and it is where many STG affiliations are found. Within an STG, race or culture is no exception, as evidenced by such groups as the Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerrilla Family and Mexican Mafia. Although the groups are prison gangs that were founded based on race, there are conflicts that occur between them and other groups organized by race.


For example, there are well-documented conflicts between the Mexican Mafia and La Nuestra Familia, both of which are Hispanic culture/race groups that have a history of violence against each other. Incidents of intra-racial conflicts are not limited to prison gangs formed around race; street gangs also have a history of conflicts between rival groups of the same race. These conflicts often can continue when members of the groups enter the prison system. Conflicts in prisons and in...

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