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NCJ Number: 206877 Find in a Library
Title: Prison Gang Leadership: Traits Identified by Prison Gangsters
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:11  Issue:4  Dated:Summer 2004  Pages:25-46
Author(s): Sandra Fortune Ed.D.
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 22
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on information collected through interviews with prison gang leaders in the Northeast Correctional Complex in Johnson County, TN, this article identifies the traits characteristic of prison gang leaders.
Abstract: Inmates were selected for the study based on a profile of association with gangs in the past or present, of institutionalization during their teen years, and/or of leadership roles among their peers. The inmate gang members who considered themselves to be leaders were from all races and cultures, and their ages ranged from young to old. Some of them approached leadership from the perspective of physical power, and others exerted leadership through persuasive instructional guidance for fellow inmates. The position occupied by the gang in the prison environment influences the traits expected of the leader. The leader must ensure that a gang's reputation within the prison is protected and maintained. At the same time, the leader must also convince fellow gang members that he cannot be manipulated into action with lies and deception. Thus, gang leaders must be students of human behavior and the traits of their own gang members. This comes from experience in observing and dealing with the interactions and conflicts of inmates and how to achieve desired outcomes in the prison environment. The gang leader is also a model of commitment to gang rules and gang life. Leaders who maintain their position of leadership use coercion and power to impose their will on gang members, without giving members choices on issues considered important to the gang. Gang leaders define the behavior for the membership. Thus, allegiance to gang leaders is crucial to the adjustment and acceptance of gang members in prison. 36 references
Main Term(s): Gangs
Index Term(s): Gang member attitudes; Inmates; Leadership; Tennessee
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