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Resolutions & Amendments

31st International Convention - San Diego, CA (1994)

Gangs in Prisons and Jails

Resolution No. 66
31st International Convention
June 27-July 1, 1994
San Diego, CA


            Gangs in prisons and jails constitute one of the most serious problems confronting AFSCME members who work in correctional institutions. Recent  studies have found that prison gangs exist in approximately thirty-three states, comprising thousands of inmates. Estimates of the proportion of inmate populations in gangs vary, but in at least one large state correctional system, between eighty to ninety percent of the inmates had some affiliation with street gangs. Gangs are not only national in scope, but they also are identified with different regions of the country; and    


            Gangs in prisons and jails exacerbate the potential for conflict and violence in this country's correctional systems. Prison gangs tend to be differentiated along racial and ethnic lines. The pattern of gang conflict is both inter-gang and gang versus non-gang inmates; and


            The presence of gangs in prisons and jails is made more complex by the manner in which the prison environment nurtures other kinds of groups, such as cliques, predator groups, and protection groups, with each one having its own structure. Thus it is important to understand the differences among these groups and the form of organizations for each.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:                                                                                                                                       

            That it is the policy of this International Union that formal instruction about understanding and evaluating prison gangs should be integrated into the pre­service training for all correctional employees and that such instruction be continually updated through the in-service training that correctional employees receive; and


            That the training model on the subject of prison gangs include how and why gangs develop; the different types of gangs, including those identified with a particular region or area of the country; gang structures; their body markings and any warning signs indicating their presence; how gangs communicate with each other, and the different strategies for dealing with prison gangs; and


            That AFSCME councils and locals representing correctional employees ensure that correctional administrators implement aging the presence of gangs in prisons and jails.



Gary M. Lonzo, President and Delegate
Carol Heffernan, Secretary and Delegate
AFSCME Council 24