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Security Threat Groups One of the major problems of corrections today is the security threat group or more commonly known as the prison gang A security threat group STG can be defined as any group of offenders who pose a treat to the security and physical safety of the institution Throughout the 1960s and 1970s prison gangs focused primarily on uniting inmates for self protection and the monopolization of illegal prison activities for monetary gain FBP 1994 p 2 STGs are mostly divided along racial lines and practice some sort of defiance towards authority STGs use a variety of hand signs alphabet codes tattoos and different types of gang terminology Gangs characteristically have rivals and make an alliance with other gangs The criminal activity of STGs does not only exists inside the confines of the prison walls but has flowed to the outside world Prostitution extortion drug selling ga mbling loan sharking such activities are invariably operated by prison gangs Gaines Kaune Miller 2000 p652 The Texas Prison System consists of eleven classified security threat groups Texas chooses to classify a gang as a STG when they become involved in violent activity Prison gangs exist in the institutions of forty states and also in the federal system Clear and Cole 2000 p 260 Three main stages that the offender will experience with the STG are recruitment the gang experience and affiliation upon release Recruiting efforts begin with the intake of the offender into the prison system The best recruitment takes place in transfer facilities where offenders are held before they are classified as to what security level prison they will be sent to There are steps that must be followed when becoming a prospective applicant for the gang The steps of recruitment vary from gang to gang and consist of sponsorship probationary periods and a vote of acceptance from fellow members Sponsorship is mandatory and only after acceptance may an inmate identify
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