Security Groups in Prison

Security threat groups are associations or groups of persons who have a common name, symbol, or identification sign. They are simply prison gangs. Some of their activities may include, organizing, financing, and committing unlawful acts that defy the written instructions of a department (Schmalleger and Smykla, 2011). Therefore, these groups undermine the safe and orderly operations of the correctional facilities.

Inmates or convicted offenders, who were initially not part of a gang, may decide to join these groups. Firstly, the offender may join these groups to take advantage or gain control of other fellow inmates. In an attempt to gain control, they will use all means necessary regardless of who will be hurt. Secondly, an offender may decide to join a security threat group to get protection, which is usually an inaccurate move since they put themselves in more danger of being attacked by rival groups (Schmalleger and Smykla, 2011). Thirdly, an offender may also join these groups to fulfill the need to belong and to be accepted. Since they do not have a real family to identify with, they tend to act like families, therefore, giving them a false sense of belonging (Carlson, 2001).

Prisons are obligated to housing convicted offenders in secure and safe environments. However, these prisoners form or join security threat groups that tend to destabilize the running of the prisons. If the groups are not well contained, they may be involved in illegal activities both inside the jail and outside. Therefore, the prison management needs to come up with a way of controlling these groups. One way is through monitoring the communication of the group members, collecting, and sharing of information with the law enforcers, local authorities, and the federal government. The information obtained from these searches may lead to the prosecution of these gang members and leaders where they may be locked in isolation (Winterdyk and Ruddell 2010). In essence, locking them in isolation will act as a deterrence to other prisoners who would be willing to join these groups.

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