Security Threat Group
Almostthirty years have passed since the first introduction of formal GangIntelligence Units (GIUs) which coined the (STG). The GIUs have been able to develop abilities, knowledge, andskills on how to manage STG within many correctional institutions.These STG cause many problems which extend beyond prisons intocommunities they are the major cause of prison violence. Lawenforcement must know everything about these groups in order tomaintain order and security (DeLisi,Spruill, Peters, Caudill & Trulson, 2013).This paper examines STG, highlighting its association with riots,especially in prisons.
STGis an assemblage of prison inmates which is either formal or informaland poses threats on security and safety of institutions the groupsmay have a common name or symbol. Security issues related to STG arebecoming serious problems in most institution because more and moreprisoners keep on joining these groups for various reasons, enablingthe groups to become more dangerous, powerful, and organized thanever before. The STGs have made it difficult for correctional staffto maintain law and order in prisons amidst the increasing violencethrough inmate and gang activities like prostitution, drugtrafficking, staff corruption, prison riots, and inmate murders(DeLisiet al., 2013).
Causesof a Riot
Thereare many causes of riots in prisons. First, riots emerge due to theSTGs racial tensions, intergroup conflicts, and gang activities.Second, when the prison management fails to respond to the complaintsand requests and other unmet necessities, gangs often explode intoriots. Third, the law enforcement’s failure to manage contraband,for instance, alcohol and weapons, is another potential reason forriots. Other causes include unclear rules set by prison staff,unresponsiveness by high-level managers, lack of inmate engagement inproductive programs, and traumas related to overcrowding (Haslam& Reicher, 2012).
Stagesof a Riot
Thefirst stage of a riot is explosion and ignition, which is the mostdangerous stage since it is marked by violence and destruction. Thesecond stage is known as the organization and confrontation stagewhere inmates are organized informally into inmates-led group. Thisis followed by confrontation or siege stage where inmates havephysical and verbal altercation with the prison’s authority, withtears gars and weapons often used by the police to regain control ofthe area. The fourth stage is termination in which the riots come toa cessation, followed by reaction and explanation of the reasons whythe riots occurred (Haslam& Reicher, 2012).
HowSTG Changes Riot Dynamics
Indeed,STGs have changed the dynamics of riots because it involves the unityof gangs based on tribal lines, religion, race, and matched crimeagendas. Under STGs, there may be several groups such as the whitesupremacy groups, those organized to perpetrate a crime, organizedstreet gangs, domestic terrorist members, motorcycle gang members,e.t.c. With the various gangs staying united and powerful, theyendanger public safety by facilitating violence, trafficking ofdrugs, extortion, and generate considerable risks in jails, prisons,and local community. During riots, different groups are either inunity or disagreement, bringing about violent protests which end upin the loss of properties and lives among other adverse outcomes(DeLisiet al., 2013).The groups are so powerful, compelling the law enforcement to rethinkthe strategy of overpowering them during riots, although the endalways feature adverse outcomes mentioned above.
Withmembership to STG increasing rapidly and becoming more dangerous andpowerful, the law enforcement should strategize on managing thegangs. Their activities create dangerous atmosphere for other inmatesand staff and this has to come to be deterred. This can be done byplacing inmates in controlled prison structures or environments wheretheir behaviors can be monitored constantly to detect and handle riotintentions.
DeLisi,M., Spruill, J. O., Peters, D. J., Caudill, J. W., & Trulson, C.R. (2013). “Half In, Half Out:” Gang Families, Gang Affiliation,and Gang Misconduct. AmericanJournal of Criminal Justice, 38(4),602-615.
Haslam,S. A., & Reicher, S. D. (2012). When prisoners take over theprison a social psychology of resistance. Personalityand Social Psychology Review, 16(2),154-179.
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