Impact of Latino Prison Gangs on the Bay Area
Table of Contents
The increased living costs and lack of employment opportunities combined with the desire to become wealthy at earlier ages have led to an increase in the level of criminality globally. This alarming rate has seen most of the prisons crowded with prisoners. However, the slow actions of the legal institutions, for instance, the courts and the inadequacy of the juries has led to this overcrowding (Fleisher & Krienert, 2009). Moreover, the reduced states of the prison infrastructures also contribute to this increase of the jail inmates. Due to the growing population in prisons, the prisoners have joined and formed organizations that operate in these prisons. These organizations have a corporate entity and exist into continuity, and their memberships are restrictive, often require an endurance commitment and are cooperatively exclusive. Most of these gangs are copied from the streets and at the time they outgrow in the cells and end up involving themselves in criminal activities outside the prison (Neal & Clements, 2010).
Prisons were, however, supposed to hold and transform the victims of criminality from lawbreakers to law abiding citizens. These institutions are referred to as correction systems where prisoners are expected to be taught on how to become responsible citizens by engaging themselves in activities that build the nation (Beck & Harrison, 2010). Ironically, the same institutions due to poor management and lack of enough facilities and equipped staff have turned out to be a breeding zone for gangs. They have proved to be places where various gangsters meet and share destructive ideas and finally end up getting into the society to cause more harm and destruction.
In the United States, prisons are racially oriented. This, therefore, leads to three prison gangs; Hispanic or Latino, African American and the Caucasian. The Latino prison gang comprised primarily of the Hispanics and was originally formed in 1950. The paper will discuss some of the challenges and impacts of the prison gangs in Bay areas and the potential ways of reducing these effects (Neal & Clements, 2010). The paper will highlight some of the strategies that should be employed to ensure the adverse influences of these prison gangs are reduced completely thus providing room for the active duties guaranteed by the correctional institutions.
Over the years, prisons have been the breeding places of many ailments. Due to overcrowding and poor sanitation in these establishments makes them vulnerable to contradicting disease-causing agents for instance pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Moreover, combined with the low education standards of most inmates, they are often involved in immoral vices that enhance rapid dispersal of these diseases (Beck & Harrison, 2010). For example in male prisons, since they lack their female partners, they end up practicing homosexuality. However, some of the inmates smoke while they are in the prisons making their counterparts vulnerable to cancer and other related diseases thus affecting their health.
Prison Gangs Cause Violence and Promote the Narcotics Sale
For many decades, the prison gangs have been dominating the drug business globally thus making many researchers to arguably agree that prison gangs are also a primary source of violence (Neal & Clements, 2010). Since they are motivated by the need to be rich by making a lot of money that will enable them to be elected into the top positions in the prisoners’ power system, the prison gangs take advantage of the jail staff’s weakness of watching the large overcrowded prisons that house more than five thousand inmates. However, these groups use this opportunity to market and conduct illegal businesses selling drugs to their clients. According to research, in many cases where profits are the main issue, both on streets and in prisons violence is usually experienced since the involved culprits do not come to a mutual understanding on the sharing of the profits (Fleisher & Krienert, 2009).
Research by Neal and Clements (2010) revealed that the prison gangs constitute three percent of the inmate population, but they cause over 50 percent of violence in prisons. In small and confined places that have a limited number of drug clients and customers that relate to other businesses and services related to gangs for example prostitution and gambling the gangs compete for these customers particularly in prisons that are overcrowded (Fleisher & Krienert, 2009)). Several wars are experienced on streets the same as in prisons where gang members and non-members are joined, leaving less alternatives for retreating them to safe and neutral places.
According to reports from prison officials in 2007, the report revealed that there were approximately over 34000 deaths in prisons that were as a result of violence that was related to drugs use, abuse and sale. The rivalry that exists between many organizations and the competition in the smuggling business regions have led to many prisoners recruiting and increasing their membership, trained them to conduct assassinations. Children and women have recently been used as assassins, and the technique has proved to be effective since women and children are in many cases taken to be innocent and less threatening (Beck & Harrison, 2010).
Also, due to the regular sale of drugs and narcotics among the inmates by the prison gang leaders, many young and innocent inmates are drugged thus making them engage in illegal activities such as violence unknowingly (Neal & Clements, 2010). The influence of narcotics makes it hard to undergo a change in their characters and however, even after their release from prisons upon their detention term is over, they continue causing more harm and destruction of the community. Moreover, they become worse since they have gained more experience from the other prisoners. Also, since they have spent part of their life in prison, they at times do not fear being detained again. Violence in prisons is experienced since the inmates are incarnated and are there unwillingly and are being forced to do activities that they do not want to do under their normal circumstances (Fleisher & Krienert, 2009). However, many of the inmates incarnated in cells are due to the violence offenses they did when in the streets for instance robbery or murder.
Prison Gangs Promote and Enhance Sexual Assaults
According to statistics from prison researches, the number of sexual violence cases in jails and prisons is accelerating. According to the report, the statistics indicate that 4.5 percent of the jail inmate undergo through sexual assault each year that is done by either their fellow inmates or by the staff (Beck & Harrison, 2010). Though the vice is horrific to the victims of the assault, many young males who are incarnated get raped. Most of the prison rape cases and incidences end up unreported since the raped victims are threatened with their lives and fear of more torture from their senior culprits. However, in the recent years, the sexual assaults and rape cases for inmates have reduced since the courts recognized some of the detainees’ rights as well as training of the prison staff (Neal & Clements, 2010).
Strategies to Control the Prison Impacts
With the advancement of technology, the prison institutions should make use of these technological tools to help them in manning the prisons. However, the prison staff should be well equipped to ensure the number of the prison officers is enough to be able to control the prisoners. Moreover, there is a need to construct more prison infrastructures that will ensure there is no overcrowding in the prisons thus making supervision easier hence reducing the chances of the inmates conducting illegal vices and activities for example drug sell and sexual assaults that result in violence in prisons (Fleisher & Krienert, 2009). Moreover, the prison staff should be trained and equipped with the emerging techniques of handling prison inmates more efficiently.
To sum up, since the emergence and existence of prison gangs, there have been massive adverse effects on both the prisoners and the prison staff. The presence of gangs poses a security threat not only to the other inmates but also to the staff. These groups lead to violence in prisons through the sale of narcotics hence making it hard to control inmates that are under the influence of drugs. However, young inmates are exposed to sexual assaults which cause a lot of psychological and physical torture to them.
In fact, the prison gangs are the primary causes of many deaths in the prisons due to the rivalry that is built between the gangs, the urge of rising to the top of the prison inmate power structure and the competition for business. Therefore, there is a need for the responsible stakeholders to come up with better strategies for ensuring the existence of these gangs are reduced or by the prison staff identifying the gangs, its memberships and leaders and registering them to reduce rivalry. Also, the various gangs should be isolated while in prisons.
- Beck, A. & Harrison, J. (2010). Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2009-09. DIANE Publishing.
- Fleisher, M. S., & Krienert, J. L. (2009). The myth of prison rape: Sexual culture in American prisons. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
- Neal, T., & Clements, C. B. (2010). Prison rape and psychological sequelae: A call for research. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 16(3), 284.