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Prison Gangs: A Review and Survey of Strategies

NCJ Number
John Winterdyk Ph.D.; Nikki Fillipuzzi M.A.; Jessica Mescier; Crystal Hencks
Date Published
August 2009
45 pages
This report by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) presents the methodology and findings of a survey on American prison gang interventions.
The survey showed clear evidence that prison gangs/STG pose significant challenges for American prison systems; however, there is no one strategy for the management, monitoring, or evaluation of the relative effectiveness of current gang management interventions. The primary reason for the lack of coordination and/or investigation is due to a lack of resources for STG investigations and coordination among jurisdictions, i.e., local jails and State and Federal prisons. The survey found that most U.S. prison systems have experienced some increase in Security Threat Group (STG) members over the past 5 years, and this has been linked to an increased range of challenges, including violence, disruptive behaviors, and threats to staff authority. Although virtually all prison systems surveyed had management strategies that sanction gang members, the most common intervention is segregation and isolation, followed by restrictions on privileges and the inclusion of gang membership in security rating or classification scores. Thirty-four completed surveys were received from 50 States, 2 correctional corporations, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (64 percent response rate). The responding systems held 954,132 prisoners at midyear 2008. The study also involved an extensive literature review on prison gangs. 60 references and appended questionnaire with an accompanying letter