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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

4 - The Characteristics of Gang Members in Prison


Who are the members of gangs in prison? What attitudes and beliefs do they maintain? What do their social networks look like? And how similar are they to inmates who are not in gangs? In many ways, we see these questions as an extension of Chapter 3 because it provides an additional description of our sample. After all, these are individuals as well as members of a group. We reported in prior chapters that a large majority of prison inmates in the United States are not gang members. In other words, there is a small group of inmates (~15 percent) who affiliate with gangs and a much larger group of inmates who do not. This is also the case in Texas. Both official records and self-reports of prison gang membership confirm this. In this chapter, our objective is to compare gang and non-gang inmates across a range of characteristics.