e.g., the Aryan Brotherhood (one of the more organized disruptive groups that originated in the Texas prison and jail system). As you will see later, these groups are very structured in leadership, and have been brought together for reasons of security within the prison and to help prison members and their families in issues the inmates’ face.
a gang composed of three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities. In general, street gangs are not as well organized as the prison gangs, and may provide a greater threat to the jail system than to the state correctional system.
23.1.2 The student will be able to define criminal street gang.
three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities (PC 71.01)
B. PC 71.02 – Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity:
A person commits an offense if, with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang, he commits or conspires to commit one or more of the following:
2) any gambling offense punishable as a Class A misdemeanor;
3) promotion of prostitution, aggravated promotion of prostitution, or compelling prostitution;
4) unlawful manufacture, transportation, repair, or sale of firearms or prohibited weapons;
5) unlawful manufacture, delivery, dispensation, or distribution of a controlled substance or dangerous drug, or unlawful possession of a controlled substance or dangerous drug through forgery, fraud, misrepresentation, or deception;
6) any unlawful wholesale promotion or possession of any obscene material or obscene device with the intent to wholesale promote the same;
7) any offense under Subchapter B, Chapter 43, depicting or involving conduct by or directed toward a child younger than 18 years of age;
1. Both are engaged in illegal activities, with emphasis on narcotics. Both demonstrate a high preference for violence (e.g., drive-by shootings by "Crips" and "Bloods," Texas Syndicate homicides).
2. Both are becoming more mobile and sophisticated
1. Street gangs tend to keep a high profile (i.e., wear colors, have graffiti).
2. Street gangs are more loosely knit as a whole, but have been noted to develop written rules or constitutions and more formalized structures. Prison gangs are highly structured with by-laws and/or a constitution that is strictly enforced.
B. Prison/jail gangs were first formed for protection. Weaker inmates were being preyed upon by stronger inmates or other groups because of the prison’s/jail’s inability to protect the inmate population.
23.1.6 The student will be able to identify three court cases that greatly influenced gang growth in TDCJ-ID.
A. Lamar v. Coffifield, C.A. No. 72-H-1393 (1977) - increased racial tension among inmates and forced inmates to group together along racial lines
B. Guajuardo v. Estelle, 580 F. 2d. 748 (5th Cir. 1978) - allowed inmates to correspond with one another
1. Due to increased communication among inmates from various units, TDCJ-ID was no longer able to “hide” cooperative inmates
2. It also gave gangs an established line of communication, which significantly affected recruiting, and violence. Gangs were also able to increase their power over other inmates with threats through correspondence.
C. Ruiz v. Estelle, 503 F. Supp. 1265, 1276, 1391 (S.D. Tex. 1980) -
eliminated the building tender system, creating a vacuum of power. Gangs were able to step in and take control over other inmates.
23.1.7 The student will be able to explain the history of gangs in TDCJ-ID and jails.
A. Gangs emerged within TDCJ-ID in the mid 1970s. The first two recognized gangs were the Aryan Brotherhood and the Texas Syndicate.
1. Texas Syndicate - Formed in 1974 by Texans incarcerated in the California prison system. Some members filtered back to Texas, were arrested and confined to TDCJ-ID.
3. Uses the letter “C” to replace the letter “B” in conversations and writings.
4. Gang members will write blue graffiti on walls in the neighborhood to mark their particular territorial boundaries.
B. Bloods - This gang is also referred to as the “Pirus” because they originated on Piru Street. The "Bloods" developed in an effort to protect themselves from the “Crips” and have become the principal rival of the “Crips.”
Aguilar v. TDCJ-Institutional Division, (5th Cir. 1998)
Inmates and several other prisoners filed a § 1983 action complaining that prison officials denied them access to the courts, placed them in punitive segregation, confiscated their personal and legal property, and falsely accused them of being prison gang leaders as an excuse for violating their civil rights. The prisoners maintained that these actions resulted from the prison officials' discrimination against Hispanics. The district court dismissed with prejudice all of inmates’ complaints, reasoning that the claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment.