Indeed when people of the same mind frame sit together, suffer together and think together… they unite to maneuver their objectives. Such unanimity if established in a prison results in the formation of a “gang”. The word ‘gang’ is typically and officially symbolic of criminal, offensive and immoral grouped activities. Criminal or imprisoned gangs are involved in multifaceted and serious pursuits. One of their major engagements is recruiting new members ensuring a vital dedication to the gang. Prison gangs are quite famous around the world for their dangerous schemes and plotting. Each prison gang has its unique features and extraordinary traits to boast, which makes it famous in its own right. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular prison gangs.
Crips was founded by Raymond Lee Washington, Greg “Batman” Davis, James “Lil James” Compton and Tookie Williams in Watts, the district of Los Angeles, in 1969. The gang increased to a number of over 40 thousand members and spread vastly throughout the US. Thousands of Crip gang members found their way to America’s prisons and its systems, thus the Crips prison gang erupted. Its original name was Cribs, but they later changed it to Crips derived from the word ‘cripple’. They changed the name since the Crips gang members used to walk with a limp! It was a high threat and was involved in serious crimes like extortions and murders. Their symbols were blue color and a hand gesture in the form of letter ‘C’. Crips gang is still one of the largest gangs of the nation with a wide involvement in drug trafficking, racketeering, extortions, murders, prostitutions and robberies. Crips were often an easy target, due to lack of unity. But then their organization set rules, which were to join forces in prisons as a unified prison structure. Thus they became one of the largest prison gang in the world. Crips gang now out numbers most traditional prison gangs such as the Mexican Mafia and Aryan Brotherhood.
Surenos is the most prevalent and one of the largest prison gangs in the world. It was formed in the Southern California prison. The term Surenos which means meaning ‘Southerner’ in Spanish was first used in the 1960s. It was after the prison war between the Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia. Surenos was spread in California State Prison-Sacramento, County Jail, Colorado, Monterey County Jail, California, Pelican Bay State Prison, San Francisco County Jail and Soledad Prison, California. They are identified with blue color or the two standard colors of bandanas, blue and red. They represent themselves with the number 13 or the thirteenth letter of alphabets, the letter M. Surenos would use the symbols Sur, XIII, X3, 13, and 3-dots in their graffiti and tattoos. The young members of the gang are instructed to align and hire more members once in jail. In many parts of the country they will identify themselves with the color blue. Sureños can be found in more than 20 states (largely in southwestern, central states) and small existence in Central California, and Northern California. The largest population of Sureños can be found in Southern California, specifically in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, and the Inland Empire region.
Bloods gang, more famous as ‘This United Blood Nation’, is the most violent compared to any other gang. They were not very organized initially, but now the number of gang members is more than 30 thousand. This prison gang had formed in the New York City jail system on Rikers Island in 1993 and spread nationwide. Like other gangs, Bloods’ identities are various gang indicators such as the color red, clothing, symbols, tattoos, jewelry, graffiti, language, and hand signs. The major Bloods’ symbols included the number “5,” the five pointed star, and the five pointed crown in tattoos, jewelry and clothing, used by the Bloods to mark their territory. Bloods are famous for countless slashing (razor blade or knife attacks) during robberies and other brutal activities. To affirm their domination, “Bloods” became increasingly violent, especially against rival Crips members causing one of the nation’s worst gang disasters. They used their younger street affiliates to deal narcotics and perform most of the gang’s executions. This resulted as making the Bloods as FBI’s top listed, one of the most hazardous gangs nationwide.
Barrio Azteca is also a very successful, and one of the most dangerous and vicious gangs. It is, like Bloods, still on FBI’s number one hit list. The gang’s major objective was to dominate the prison systems and spread their most successful drug trade. This brutal gang is accountable for dozens of murders in Texas and Mexican prisons. Although, the Barrio Azteca gang follows a paramilitary sequence of commanders, lieutenants, sergeants and soldiers, they hired most of the brutal criminals who hated the Mexican and Texas association. This gang is not only considered the most dangerous, but a highly organized prison gang which still operates in both state and federal prisons all over the United States and Mexico. Potential gang members deal out drugs and carry out missions. Its symbols are 915, EPT, 21, BA, and Azteca theme tattoos. It is widely spread in El Paso TX, Ciudad Juarez, Midland TX, Odessa TX, Las Cruces New Mexico, and small divisions across the United States and northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Barrio gang was recently classified as the national security threat after the drug related violence in Juarez Mexico.
The Mexican Mafia is a Mexican-American wicked gang, known to be one of the largest and most brutal gangs in the United States today. It is also one of the oldest and most dominant prison gangs. This gang had emerged from a state prison located in Tracy, California. In the beginning only violent members were recruited to create a deadly and brutal impression all over. It was also to terrorize the prison system and to get control over prison facilities. Later it expanded its organization by involving into extortion, drug trafficking and murder, both inside and outside the prison system. This prison gang severed the level of violence in members it employed. The gang maintains is dominance through the use of violence, including murder or threats of murder. Currently, in estimation the Mexican Mafia sustains a membership of over 30,000, largely found in California prisons. A black hand is a common symbol of the gang but its prime icon is an eagle and a snake which is also the national symbol of Mexico.