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Traditional Prison Gangs Essay

3860 words - 16 pages



A gang is a group of people who through organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage share a common identify. The word "Gang" often carries a negative connotation; however, within a gang which defines itself in opposition to mainstream norms, members adopt the status of the gang as their identity. Gang activities are not restricted to typical organized crime groups, but may be associated with a general class of behavior in which collective actions and support of communal interest and goals serves to achieve social cohesion or solidarity. Gangs use specific symbols, signs, codes, and special languages which are unique to each ...view middle of the document...

The names of the prison gangs are:

Aryan Brotherhood

Black Guerilla Family

La Nuestra Familia

Mexican Mafia

Texas Syndicate

�eta Association


The Aryan Brotherhood aka AB, Alice Baker, Tip, Brand originated in San Quintin prison in 1967 and consisted only of white members. Originally, this gang was established to provide protection for whites individuals from Black and Hispanic groups and to acquire power. Some of the original members had been members in a 1950's gang known as the "Bluebirds" or "Diamond Tooth Gang" or "Nazi Gang."

Their philosophy was a mixture of white supremacy ideologies and German and Irish ancestry. The AB has a "blood in- blood out" philosophy meaning that members kill to gain admission and only are released from membership by there own death. Most members are apolitical and the group's primary orientation is now drug trafficking and extortion transactions.

Before gaining membership a recruit must prove his dedication by carrying out a murder of a person targeted for death by the AB. This ritual is called "making your bones." However even after this initiation rite, a recruit will not actual membership until they have received a unanimous vote from existing members. Members dedicate themselves to supporting other members who are still incarcerated.

Typical identifiers of the members of the AB are numerous and varied body tattoos, such as a shamrock, the letters AB, three sixes, two lightning bolts, and also two S's. Members often disguise their AB tattoos or hide them on the hairline or underarms so as not to be identified by prison administrators.


The Black Guerilla Family also known as BGF was founded in 1966 by former Black Panther member George Jackson while he was in the San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California. Originally the BGF was called the Black Family or the Black Vanguard, and it also has links to the "Black Mafia". The BGF is the most "politically" oriented of the major prison gangs. In fact some members formerly belonged to the Black Liberation Army or Symbionese Liberation Army. It was formed as a Marxist/Leninist Revolutionary Organization to eradicate racism, maintained dignity in prison, and overthrow the US government.

The BGF has members nationwide with the main concentration on the East and West Coasts. The members of the BGF though small in number have a very strict death oath which requires a life pledge of loyalty to the gang. The members identify themselves to the gang through tattoos containing the letters BGF and symbols of power such as two crossed rifles, machetes, shotguns, sabers and/or a black dragon squeezing the life out of a prison guard by a prison tower.

The gang organization follows a paramilitary line. The gang contains a "Supreme Leader", a "General Committee",...

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