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Prison gangs are flourishing across the country Organized stealthy and deadly they are reaching out from their cells to organize and control crime in Americas streets Law enforcement personal began to systematically monitor gang activities in the 1970s Working together their initial attempts were to identify only gangs which had some semblance of formal structure a constitution bylaws mission statement or some identifiable tenets guiding their activities However with experience staff began to realize that even less well-organized groups could still pose significant threats to the security and orderly running of an institution Many of these smaller groups occupy the fringes of various conceptual and organizational frameworks most notable ethnic religious or social organizations Nevertheless they have demonstrated that they can constitute a threat to prison security and public safety gang buster In 1986 the United States Department of Justice identified 114 different prison gangs in the US and with a membership that may constitute as much as three percent of the total prison population in the United States Of those five have emerged as the most powerful and influential The Mexican Mafia the Lu Nuestra Familia the Texas Syndicate the Aryan Brotherhood and the Black Guerilla Family They all maintain the membership requirement of murder or the spilling of anothers blood In addition each of these organizations relies heavily on illegal revenues from the drug trade police studies Some of the gangs are nothing but a group of inmates in one prison while other gangs could be large enough to connect with other branches through out the US Prison Gangs are flourishing from California to Massachusetts in 1996 the Federal Bureau of Prisons found that prison disturbances soared by about 400 percent in the early nineties which authorities say indicated that gangs were becoming more active In states like Illinois as much as 60 percent of the prison population belongs to gangs The Florida Department of Corrections has identified 240 street gangs operating in
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