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Problem of Gangs and Security Threat Groups (STG's) in American Prisons and Jails Today: Recent Findings from the 2012 NGCRC National Gang/STG Survey

NCJ Number
George W. Knox, Ph.D.
Date Published
36 pages
Preliminary findings from a statistical analysis of the 2012 NGCRC (National Gang Crime Research Center) National STG (Security Threat Groups) Survey pertain to the problem of gangs and STGs in American prisons and jails.
Previous STG Surveys as well as the current survey generally show that "gang density" (percentage of inmates who are gang or STG members) has been steadily increasing for the last two decades. Most of the gang members are imported into the correctional system when gang members are convicted of felony crimes. Still, there are cases in which inmates join gangs or STGs for the first time while they are incarcerated. For male inmates, the mean score for the percentage of male inmates in gangs/STGs was 29.5 percent. For female gang/STG members, the mean average was 3.61 percent. One-fourth of the 148 facilities from 48 States responding to the survey indicated that gang members have been involved in assaults on staff. Twenty-five percent of the respondents considered this a problem, and half of the correctional facilities reported that gang members have threatened staff. In addition, an average of one-fourth of the facilities reported that gang members caused about one-fourth of all jail/prison management problems. On average, gang members were reported to have been involved in 33.7 percent of all violence among inmates. Data are also reported on gang recruitment among inmates, steps taken by respondents to counter the gang/STG problem, and recommendations for additional actions. The survey also solicited information on how gangs/STGs may use religious services to recruit membership, particularly among Muslim inmates. Other issues considered in the survey were racial issues associated with inmate gangs/STGs and staff training in gang characteristics and management of inmates who are gang/STG members. 59 listings in a selected bibliography on prison gang/STG issues