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crips Prison Gangs


Prison Gangs
The fight for survival within the United States prison system has created a subculture the breeds racism, hate, and violence. About two and a half years ago, a young man named William King was sentenced to death by lethal injection for his participation in the murder of James Byrd Jr. James, a middle aged black man from Jasper County, Texas, was bound at the ankles and dragged behind a truck for three miles. His body was ripped to shreds as a gruesome display of the effects of prison subculture. What caused William King and his partners Shawn Berry and Lawrence Brewer to commit such a horrific crime? Was their behavior a result of innate nature or was it learned? Many agree that it was the time spent in prison that caused William King to brutally murder James Byrd Jr.
Friends and family claim that William was a pleasant and quiet boy before he left for prison to serve a couple years for burglary. When he was released, his personality seemed irrational and violent and he was covered in racist tattoos. Friends say he frequently spoke about white supremacy and was anxious to develop his own splinter white supremacist gang. Kings defense attorney explained that it was the high rate of violence in Texass Beto 1 Unit that caused William to turn toward gang activity as a means of protection and security. Racist attitudes develop from poor treatment from other inmates and a need to strengthen a common bond among gang members. William, the defense attorney argued, was merely a victim of the depleting prison system in this country ().
The reality of prison gangs cannot be ignored. Victor Hassine wrote a book entitles Life Without Parole, in which he describes the horrific reality of life behind bars. He writes, Once inside, I was walked through a quantlet of desperate men. Their hot smell in the muggy corridor was as foul as their appearance. None of them seemed to have a full set of front teeth. Many bore prominently displayed tattoos of skulls or demons. One could argue whether it was the look of these men that led them to prison or whether it was the prison that gave them their look. Just looking at them made me fear my life (Hassine, 7). While the actions of William King cannot be excused or rationalized, his story sheds insight on the problems that face our correctional facilities. Prison gangs are everywhere, and effect every inmate. When a new convict is admitted he is viewed as fresh meat among the prison gang members and victimized to no end. Prison gangs are a convicts means of survival in an environment so starved of morals that violence, rap, and murder are just a daily reality.
While it is impossible to know the impact of prison gangs on our street, experts dispute over the control and communication between street and prison gangs. Some argue that there is little connection between street and prison gangs and that operations of prison gangs remain behind prison walls. Drug trafficking does exist within prisons; it is usually made possible through inmates friends and/or girlfriends (Huff 248). Still others feel quite different, and see prison gang control reach far beyond an inmates cell. Some speculate that a large percentage of drug dealing in East Los Angeles is controlled from within prison walls by the Mexican Mafia. Joe Pegleg Morgan was in prison for forty years, beginning with a conviction of murder at the age sixteen. He manage to gain so much power and control of drug trafficking, street crimes, violence and money laundering that he rose to serve as the Mexican Mafias Godfather in the later half of his life (Barker, 311).
Prison gangs tend to display a distinct hierarchical structure. A single inmate who best embodies the gangs value (Territo, 580) assumes the role of the leader. A leader time in control is normally short, partially due to the prison systems ability to relocate inmates. It is usually the strongest remaining gang member that assumes leadership or the gangs elite counsels a decision. A members degree of influence flows down a criterion of ranks, with the recruits having no say in any ... more

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Stacey Hawkins English 2 sec. 34 11-21-96 Gangsta Rap and Violence Go Hand in Hand "Mr. Officer, I want to see you layin' in a coffin, sir," from The Chronic and "F--- the police," from N.W.A., are few lyrics from the music genre "gangsta rap." This kind of music is being sold to young children without any thought of concern. When many children listen to this kind of music they think that was being said in the songs is not wrong or against the law. The lyrics in many songs contain violent and explicit lyrics that usually talk about killing someone along with sounds of gunshots in the background. It is also music that refers to women as "bitches," "whores" and sex-dispensing "hos"(Saunders B29). "Gangsta rap " has been criticized and debated over for its graphic sexual content, violent imagery and misogyny. When rappers were asked why they refer to women as bitches and hos their replies were similar. "Snoop" says, "that it is just for the women who are like that and if you're a real women, you're classy and elegant. Those lyrics wouldnt necessarily affect you. Youd just groove to the music" (Farley 78). Richard Shaw, Bushwick Bill, says: "I call women bitches and hos because all the women I've met since I've been out here are bitches and hos." When asked, at the [National Association of Black Journalists] convention, what he calls his mother he says, "I call her a 'woman', but I'm not f---ing my mother. If I was f---ing you, you'd be a bitch." He then apologized for what he said to the reporter. (Raspberry A21) "If you don't give a f--- about a bitch/ Then you're rolling with the row", are lyrics from Doggystyle. If all people were to think like this what respect would women have. Some say, "if we don't have respect for our women, why should anyone else?" (Raspberry A21). Do these rappers think that they own women and can treat them any way they want to. If this is the way some people think, that the own women and can dis respect them then what footsteps are the children going to follow in. Young children and adults, 14, 15 and 16 years of age, who listen and memorize these rap songs think that it is acceptable behavior. "Gangsta rap" is hardly the only source of violence, but it is a potent one. Not only is the music violent but the rappers lifestyle is also. Many rappers have rap sheets and young people see that and say, "hey, their rich and money talks." Today most young people think that if a person is rich and famous they can get away with anything. Not all rappers have run-ins with the law, but the ones that do are very well known. Tupac Shakur, who recently was murdered this year, has had many run-ins with the law. Shakur was arrested for aggravated assault, charged with shooting two off duty police officers in Atlanta in 1993, but the charges were later dropped. He was accused of beating a limousine driver in Los Angeles and found guilty of threatening a fellow rapper with a baseball bat in Michigan. He was also found guilty of sexual abuse in 1994 and was serving time up to 4 years in prison (Sims E3). In some raps he glamorized the life of a gangster and fun gunplay. He lived the life tattooed on his stomach, "Thug Life," and died doing it. Gangsta Rap" has attracted a high-profile of enemies and no one may ever know who really killed Tupak. The police are still not sure of who shot and killed Tupak, but they think that it may have been linked to Death Row Record's ties with rival gangs. There are no witnesses who can identify the driver or shooter in the Cadillac that pulled up next to Tupak and driver, Marion Knight. Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, was arrested in 1993 on murder-conspiracy charges. He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted. He also has a police file that Hawkins 3 identifies him as a member of Long Beach Insane Crips, a notorious street gang (Cheevers A1). He ... more

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