This is the first post in a series about gangs.
It’s written by people that are in gangs, were in gangs, or could have been in gangs but chose not to be. Each of the authors in the series is incarcerated.
It was not easy to find willing voices for this series. Felicia spent many months getting to know each of the writers and gaining their trust and respect. It is frowned upon by other members of these gangs to talk about the inner workings of the groups. To publicly speak on such matters literally endangers these writers.
I’ve honored each of theses writer’s requests to not publish their names in full or the institutions that they are incarcerated at unless previously agreed.
Gang: An organized group of criminals. A number of people that form a group – a set of switches, sockets, or other electronic or mechanical devices linked together
A prison gang is an organized criminal enterprise first organized in prisons. It is based on the very lucrative trafficking of drugs in prison but also reaches out and controls street gangs through recruiting their leadership. While based in prison, their control of drug sales reaches out to the streets. They facilitate trafficking and collect sales tax on drug sales such as heroin, crack, meth, etc.
The most common gang in prison is the Aryan Brotherhood, also known as the brand or the “AB” The AB is a neo Nazi prison gang, an organized crime syndicate based in the United States with an estimated 15-20K inside and outside of prison. This number grows daily due to the ever growing population of prisoners in the country.
The previous two paragraphs are the educated research on gangs within our prisons. But there’s a different definition from behind these walls.
Gangs: On The Inside
By Matt (OH)
I believe that if a person joins a gang in prison. they don’t read or can’t.
I don’t really respect them. The only 2 or 3 gangs that came about in prisons and juvenile detentions are the ABs, The Felons, and KFs.
Most people that join gangs in prison are scared, some do it to fit in, some are even skin scared.
Even on the streets there are reasons for joining a gang. Someone may not have the positive male role models or even female role models in their lives, and the streets end up raising them.
For the gang I’m in, in order to join there are numerous ways. The way I was initiated was being jumped in by 6 people for 2 minutes. I had to prove I had heart. The number one rule is that you must fight back. I can’t reveal all of the rules but here are some of them for being in the gang:
No backbiting, No backstabbing, No snitching, No homosexual activity, No use of hard core drugs, No disrespect to the OG’s or big homies.
The gang was created in 1969 and the first all-white set was formed in 1972 and was called the Blue Devils. But I am an RTC. My gang was created to protect and keep the peace in the neighborhood.
You always have to go drill chasing, and that could consist of killing or shooting at the ops. Ops is bloods / pins. It also could consist of marking your territory (which is spray painting your “set” name on or over other signs).
I really don’t recognize people that join my specific organization in prison because you can’t do the necessary things that has to be done while in prison per se.
Plus, a lot of people that are in the joint are members of a gang and are young, and that’s why I only socialize with members I knew from the street and know are 100% official.
Lettersfromchristopher is an advocacy effort intended to draw attention to incarceration in the United States. Thank you! for following.