This article advocates enhancing programs and treatment for the most disruptive inmates and carefully assessing the meaning of inmates' gang affiliation.
The article creates a comparative profile of 704 inmates who self-reported gang membership to those who did not during structured intake interviews in the Nebraska Department of Corrections. Marked differences were found in several categories including race, age, education, age at first arrest, age at first criminal involvement, crime and victimization, employment, legal and illegal income, and drug use. Although gang members may have jobs, they are less likely to be employed for long periods of time, are likely to work fewer hours, and are less likely to be committed to their employment than non-gang members. The article describes self-reported gang affiliation as a useful proxy for discriminating inmates with a level of programming needs substantially higher than non-gang inmates. It advocates enhancing programs and treatment for the most disruptive inmates rather than suppressing them with segregation in super-max prisons and cautions correctional officials to carefully assess the meaning of inmates' gang affiliation. The article concludes that meaningful employment programming for gang-affiliated inmates will depend on developing remedial education and intense substance abuse counseling. Tables, references