Gangs have always been problematic in prisons and in my opinion, will continue to be. Gang activity filters down from generation to generation and there is not a real easy or even possible way of stopping it. They are their own families in some cases; they have become a family to those who do not otherwise have a family. Those members will not betray their gang brothers or sisters. There are some key gangs who make up a majority of the gang activity in prisons. Those are The Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerilla Family, The Folk Nation, The Mexican Mafia, and MS 13. These gang members use prisons as a recruiting ground as well.
They take those that are new and take them in what they show to be under their wing and then use them as pawn in trade for their protection and feeling a part of something. First on the list would be the Aryan Brotherhood. It was founded in 1964 at the San Quentin state prison. The founders were Barry Mills and Tyler Bingham. The reason it was formed was so whites could protect themselves from black males that had claimed dominance and it eventually turned into revenue. The gang quickly gained power. They have a symbol that is a three leaf clover with a swastika and the initial’s “A & B” on each side of the clover.
There is an exception the logo, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas has altered their logo and do not use the same that San Diego originated gang. They use a swastika with a sword. This is Texas’ most dangerous all white prison gang. The gangs’ mission is to bring about a race war that they have at times historically committed to a number of violent crimes including murder. The Aryan Brotherhood consists of approximately 30,000 members and is considered to be a high threat.
While considered to be a high threat and they are high in number, there are a number of other white supremacist roups that are now around taking away from the almost monopoly that was known as the Aryan Brotherhood. Some of those include Aryan Circle, Dirty White Boys, Nazi Lowriders, Volksfront, 211 Crew, and many more. The only alliance that the Aryan Brotherhood has is the Mexican Mafia. The Mexican Mafia is commonly mistaken for the Texas based Mexikanemi. They are actually not linked at all. The Mexican Mafia was founded by Luis “Huero Buff” Flores, Mundo Mendoza, Joe “Peg Leg” Morgan, and Eddie Gonzales in 1957 at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California.
They are also known as La eMe, which is the Spanish letter for “M”. Their symbol looks like a capital letter “M” with an “E” on each side. Much like the Aryan Brotherhood, the main purpose originally of this gang and its founding reason was so that Mexican Americans could unite and protect themselves from predatory black inmates. They were also the first Hispanic gang to become career criminals. While the number of members is not comparable to that of the Aryan Brotherhood, The Mexican Mafia does control thousands of Hispanic members that are on the streets.
There was a situation in 1993 where they were actually busted in conducting street meetings with all of the street gangs and trying to call a truce and link in with the prison gang. I do not believe that while this gang is considered to be high threat, their decline will continue. Officials identified and located numerous head members and pulled them in. When they did, they were for the most part easy to get them to talk and tell everything that they know. This led to the decline in the gang’s activity and their ability to grow any further.
I do think that this gang will always be around, I just believe that since the awareness in their activities and motives have increased, they will be a small force to deal with. I do not know that it is completely impossible that they merge 100% with the Aryan Brotherhood. Another deadly gang that has been determined the most dangerous gang in America is the MS13. They are considered highly violent and spreading contagiously. This gang was established to protect the El Salvadorian hoodlums who were a target of black and Mexican street gangs. The MS13 stands for Mara Salvatrucha 13 and was founded in 1980.
The founders were El Salvadorian immigrant criminals who lived in the gang infested areas of Los Angeles, California. This gang sticks to their own and only their own as they have no alliances. While this gang had started in California, they have also spread to the rest of the country. In the 1990’s the gang went around ruthlessly conducting car jacking’s and home invasions by many of the members. These members were also heavy heroin and crack cocaine addicts. When that took place, the U. S. government took a tough stance and deported thousands of its members.
They took them back to their roots of Central America. This forced the gang to bunker down and begin to take over El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. In 1997 gang members kidnapped and brutally murdered the Honduras President Ricardo Maduro. In my mind, this gang is of the most dangerous in nature. They do not have the ability to get along with others, nor do they desire to. I do not think that it is ever a good thing when gangs have alliances as they can lean on one another, however I think that one that is incapable of allying with anyone and shoot to kill at their own will is a very scary thing.
Another gang that is well known in the prison systems would be the Black Guerilla Family. They were founded in 1966 by a former Black Panther member, George Jackson. This gang came to be made initially of members from other gangs that included the Black Liberation Army, Symbionese Liberation Army, and Weatherman Underground organization. They are by leaps and bounds the most “politically” oriented gang of the most populated gangs. Their original purpose was to fight racism and overthrow the U. S. Government. Something that is unique to this gang unlike the others listed above is that they have a strict death oath.
They are smaller in member numbers; however a member is a loyal member to the gang for life without exception. This gang is highly organized and runs under military like rankings. While smaller in number, they are growing as they have gained new alignments. Those alignments are with the 415’s, 415 KUMI, Crips, Bloods, and Black Gangster Disciples. With this gang having such strong beliefs in being antigovernment and anti-officially mentality makes them incredibly dangerous to law enforcement and prison guards. This gang is primarily on the east and west coasts, but are working their infiltration through the middle of the country.
One last group that I researched was the Folk Nation. What struck me as highly interesting about this group is they are not technically a gang even though they are known as one. They are an alliance of different gangs working together. Each member who is a member of Folk Nation also belongs to another gang. Their main focus is to control drug trafficking and internal gang discipline in both in and out of prison. This group has several different tattoos that can be identifiers. They are various symbols ranging from a winged hard, dice, number 6, backwards swastikas, and many more.
They also depending on need they express themselves through sports teams or colors. The sports team that they wear has no relevance to their actual loyalty to the team. They actually will make acronyms out of the team name. For example, they wore Oakland Raiders as it actually stood for “ruthless ass Insane Disciples ever ruled the streets”. This group used to be called the Black P-Stones. It was founded led by Jeff Fort in the 1960’s as primarily a youth group. He rounded up about 50 area street gangs into a single organization.
They ended up actually obtaining $1. million in federal anti-poverty funds that was used for the illegal gang activity. This group consists primarily of black and Hispanic members. However, it is not uncommon to have other races and nationalities. Demographics are a little different for this group that most of the others highlighted in this reading. The others are mostly coastal in location, mostly aligning or originating on the west coast. This group was primary to the Chicago area and has now spread across the Midwest. In reviewing these groups, I would have to say that in my opinion the Black Guerillas are the most dangerous and the one to fear the most.
While the other groups stick together in prisons, the fact that the Black Guerillas specifically target law enforcement officials and prison staff. They are the group to be feared. Their numbers are also rising due to their recent joining of the other mostly black gangs. Their death oath also makes them more dangerous. It seems that somebody has to die in either scenario. They are going to target the law enforcement or if somebody leaves the gang, they will also die. Members knowing that they will die will keep them active in the gang, so the number of members will not really decrease. They are also a highly organized group.
They are ready for events before they take place in the prisons due to their Intel. Typically when prison guards are going to conduct a search and seize in the middle of the night, the gang is already ready for them and organized to kill. This, in my opinion would say that if a member is a known member of the Black Guerillas, they should automatically go to a super max or solitary scenario. It seems that would be one way to keep the prison guard safer while at work. The funding might not be available for that, but it seems that it is something that should be done, or needs to be done in order to keep our protectors safe.