Gang membership is common in prison. A lot of prison violence and misconduct may be gang-related. In general, you want to report violence in prison. Most prisons work hard to keep you safe when you report violence. But it can be dangerous to report gang violence in prison.
Why is gang violence so common in prison?
Gangs have been a part of prison culture for many, many years. Even before street gangs, incarcerated people s worked together to keep each other safe. Over time, some groups used violence to get power over other people in prison.
The Department of Justice believes there are more than one million gang members in the U.S. Gang members are more likely to enter the prison system. This is why prisons screen all prisoners for gang affiliation. They check for tattoos, artwork and writing about gangs.
Many new people in prison join prison gangs for protection. These gangs ask new members to smuggle drugs or commit violence to join. This shows the gang that new members are loyal. As a result, prison officials spend a lot of time finding and separating gang members.
What should you do if you witness gang violence in prison?
If you see gang violence in prison, you can report it. Reporting any crime to prison staff is important. But it’s also dangerous. This is because incarcerated people may hurt you if they believe you cooperate with the government. It is even more dangerous to report gang violence. Most prisons have ways to share information in secret.
Gang Intelligence Officers in prison work hard to find and separate gang members. You can pass information to them through prison staff you trust. Remember, sharing this information can be dangerous. You may want to talk to your lawyer about the safest way to do this.
You can also work with your lawyer to share information in private. They can also help you decide if you should report information in secret. Sometimes, prison staff may want you to act as a witness. They may also offer protection if you agree. You can discuss these options with your lawyer, too.
How do prisons stop gang violence?
The National Institute of Justice describes many ways to help reduce gang violence in prison. The most common way to stop gang violence is to separate gang members. Prisons also try to find gang leaders and keep them away from other gang members.
Some prisons decide to put all members of a gang in one area. They may also use restrictive housing to control gang violence. Not everyone agrees with these strategies. Some believe that it can give gangs too much power and put officials and other people in prison at risk.
Restrictive housing may be a common way to separate gang members. But most studies show that restrictive housing doesn’t help. Gang members are more likely to commit violence when they leave restrictive housing. This is why prisons are trying new strategies to stop gang violence and protect incarcerated people.
Gang violence in prison is a big problem. You can report this kind of violence to prison staff that you trust. But it is often dangerous to report crimes and gang violence in prison. You may want to ask your lawyer how to share information safely.