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

9 - Continuity and Change in Prison Gang Membership


The phrase attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “There is nothing permanent except change,” is aptly applied to gangs and gang members. As this book has shown, transitions characterize the lives of prison gang members even in highly structured institutional settings. Gangs exert considerable influence on their members whether on the street or in prison. This influence can be measured in the involvement in crime and misconduct in prison, as well as in the disruption of many positive socializing forces such as employment, marriage, religion, and school. In the previous chapter, we examined the transition into gangs on the street and in prison. This chapter examines instances where gangs’ control over individuals weakens and their members sever their ties to the group and transition out of gangs on the street and in prison.