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Prison Gangs: Inmates Battle for Control

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 10 Issue: 9 Dated: (April 1986) Pages: 1,6-9
V Cox
Date Published
5 pages
This article identifies some of the major gangs in California prisons, traces their history and conflicts with other gangs, and discusses ways of dealing with inter-gang conflict in prisons.
The major prison gangs, both in influence and propensity for violence, are the Aryan Brotherhood, Mexican Mafia, Nuestra Familia, and Black Guerrilla Family. These gangs formed in California prisons in the 1950's and 1960's. They have since yielded factions and offshoots and have extended their illicit activities beyond prison walls into communities. On occasion the Aryan Brotherhood allies with the Mexican Mafia against the Black Guerrillas and Nuestra Familia. One of the newer prison gangs is the Vanguards, an offshoot of the Black Guerrilla Family. It has the revolutionary aim of overthrowing the Federal Government. Other newer gangs are the Texas syndicate, composed of Texas Hispanics, and the Crips, which originated in the black ghetto high schools of Los Angeles. Historic hostility between particular gangs and gang competition to control prison life often result in prison disorder and violence. Efforts to counter gang violence include the establishment of prison staff gang units responsible for obtaining and analyzing intelligence on gangs and the development and protection of informants.


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