The abstracts and reviews provided on this page were drawn directly
from the Internet link provided for each relevant citation. I did
not write the abstracts or reviews. Click on the title of each
article to find the source for each abstract or review provided
My thanks to Richard Aldred, one of our
outstanding Criminology students here at Missouri State. Richard
graduated in May of 2008 and created this bibliography as part of
his coursework with me.
“Women in Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs”
by Columbus B. Hopper and Johnny Moore. Journal of Contemporary
Ethnography, vol.18, no.4 (363-387), 1990.
This article is based on
participant observation and interviews with outlaw bikers and
their female associates over the course of 17 years. It
describes the place of women in motorcycle gangs and the
motivations and backgrounds of women affiliated with outlaw
biker clubs. Biker women are compared to street gang girls in
terms of their gang participation and relationships with male
gang members. Over the course of the study, the role of women
in motorcycle gangs changed. Although earlier biker women
were simply partners in parties and hedonistic sexuality, in
modern outlaw gangs, women are expected to be engaged in
economic pursuits for their individual men and sometimes for
the entire club. The changing role of biker women appears to
be influenced by the gangs' increased involvement in crime and
other money-making activities.
In May of 2011
I received the following email in which the sender objected to the above
portrayal of women in motorcycle gangs. She wrote:|
With all due respect, as I am neither as old, experienced, nor as learned as
you, I would like to share my opinion about your article with you as polite
and as professionally as I possibly can.
I found the section about the women in MC's to be almost inappropriate and
extremely speculative. While you did disclaim that your writings could very
well be false, it seems to me that whether or not your were accurate was of
Again, this is just my opinion. I see that you must be a professor, and
therefore you are probably very busy, but I also feel like the way you wrote
this was very haphazard (Carlie was not the author of the review above). I
feel like while the "one-percenter" MC's are absolutely usually criminals,
they are most definitely not evil men, the way you have portrayed them in
this article. As a rational person, I feel like this was much more about
showing your distaste of these gangs rather than telling about the facts.
I hope my criticism has not offended you-- it certainly was not my
intention. I have been doing a small amount of research out of curiosity,
and I came across this article by someone who was in an "outlaw motorcycle
gang." It's really very interesting, and it might help some of this article
become more accurate:
Dr. Carlie: I know nothing of the author of the email above nor of the
document to which the sender refers. I thought it might be interesting,
however, to provide this opposing point of view.
“The Nature of Criminality within
One-Percent Motorcycle Clubs” by James Quinn and
Shane Koch. Deviant Behavior, vol.24, no.3 (281-305), 2003.
Most law enforcers and
academic experts agree that the largest one-percent motorcycle clubs are
a form of organized crime despite their origins as barroom brawlers. A
few club goals related to the destruction of rival groups are more or
less overtly criminal. Of greater concern to most observers is the
manner in which these clubs provide a context for individuals with a
high propensity for illegal activity to unite long enough to operate
enterprises of varying levels of sophistication. Social isolation from
the mainstream intensifies intra-group loyalties as it concentrates
members' attention on the underworld. Bikers integrate their private and
club lives in a manner that makes the distinction between club-sponsored
and other activities problematic. The relationship of these enterprises
to the club itself is often murky as is the line between their planned
and spontaneous expressive crimes.
“The Angels, Bandidos, Outlaws, and
Pagans: The Evolution of Organized Crime among the Big Four 1%
Motorcycle Clubs.” by James Quinn. Deviant Behavior,
vol.22, no.4 (379-399). 2001.
This paper outlines the
evolution of the Big Four one percent motorcycle clubs: Hell's Angels,
Bandidos, Outlaws, and Pagans. From near-groups to well-organized
criminal confederations. The insights of criminological theory unify a
variety of journalistic and scientific sources into a holistic picture
of the development of these organizations. The interaction of members'
psychological needs with group dynamics and mainstream social forces
lead to periods of expansion as core values shift to emphasize dominance
over rivals. The resulting interclub tensions encourage the creation of
organized criminal enterprises but also attract police attention.
Internecine rivalries were eventually subordinated to these enterprises
as their profit potential was recognized and intergroup warfare took its
toll. Core biker values were reasserted as certain aspects of club
operation became less countercultural in order to assure the future of
the subculture and its basic components.
“Working with Women Associated with
Bikie Gangs: Practice Dilemmas” by Leslie Cooper and
Margaret Bowden. Australian Social Work, vol.59, no.3 (301-313).
Much has been written
about bikie gangs, but there is little about the women and children who
are part of gang life. The present paper describes domestic violence
agency social workers' ethical practice dilemmas when assisting women
who have left bikie gangs to search for a new, safer lifestyle away from
the gang culture of drug use and violence, in particular sexual
violence. The paper concludes with a discussion of the ethical processes
and issues in resolving such practice dilemmas.
“Depicting Outlaw Motorcycle Club
Women Using Anchored and Unanchored Research Methodologies”
by Julie van den Eynde and Arthur Veno. The Australian Community
Psychologist, vol.19, no.1. 2007.
Entry of researchers into
a subculture can be fraught with personal and methodological problems
resulting in researcher ill health, poor data and corrupt analysis.
Based upon the literature a method was developed to avoid these
outcomes. The technique was used during a major community psychology
intervention requiring a researcher to become deeply immersed into the
subculture of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs (OMCs). We coined the term Insider
– Outsider to describe the technique. The technique allowed a complete
re-framing of the role of women involved with OMCs. Previous research of
women associated with OMCs is scurrilous as the women are defined only
by their sexual and economic values to the OMC members. We came to the
conclusion that previous research was one of the last bastions of sexist
research. Our findings normalized the role of OMC women as, in our
methodology, women were actually interviewed, observed and a replicable
methodology was used.
“A Brief History of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs” by William Dulaney.
International Journal of Motorcycle Studies, November Issue,
Little scholarly research
exists which addresses outlaw motorcycle clubs. These works attempt to
explore warring factions of outlaw clubs, provide club members’
perspectives about media portrayal, expose myths, and elucidate
motorcycle club culture.*1 The literature reveals gaps which leave many
unanswered questions: Where do outlaw motorcycle clubs come from? How
did they start? How or why did they evolve into alleged international
crime organizations? The few histories of outlaw motorcycle
organizations date the origins of such clubs to around 1947 and tend to
oversimplify the issues of why these clubs formed and who actually
joined them. Histories such as these are built on foundations of weak
evidence, rendering inconsequential the origins of the subculture and
relegating members of early organizations to the marginal status of
“malcontents on the edge of society, and other antisocial types who just
wanted to raise hell” (Valentine 147). This article extends current
research by reaching back nearly half a century before 1947 to link the
dawn of motorcycle organizations with the present reality of outlaw
motorcycle clubs. The overarching goal of the article is to offer a more
comprehensive history, an evolutionary history that may allow for a
better understanding of contemporary motorcycle subculture.
“One Percent Biker Clubs: A Description” by Tom Barker.
Trends in Organized Crime, vol.9, no.1. 2005.
This paper, through an
extensive literature review of biker websites, newspaper articles,
popular books, the limited scholarly research, and court cases, as well
as interviews and associations with law enforcement officers and 1%
bikers, identifies and describes the major 1% biker clubs. The Big 5
clubs—Hell’s Angels, Bandidos, Outlaws, Pagans, and Sons of Silence— are
discussed. Their history, number of chapters in the United States and
overseas, and a “best guess estimate” of membership numbers are also
provided. Similar information is provided on the major independent 1%
biker clubs—Warlocks, Mongols and Iron Horsemen. There is also a brief
discussion of the role of puppet (support) clubs and the four black or
interracial 1% biker clubs. This research, describing the clubs, is the
first step needed to stimulate research on this under researched topic.
“Exporting American Organized Crime--Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs” by
Tom Barker. Journal of Gang Research, vol.11, no.2 (37-50),
In the 1940's, the
president of the American Motorcycle Association stated that 1 percent
of the bikers were the ones damaging the image of all bikers. OMG's have
gloried in this recognition and have labeled themselves as
"1-percenters." They thus relish their antisocial, intimidating, and
violent criminal image. Based on a review of various sources of
information on OMG's, including reports of undercover police officers
and the OMGs' own Web sites, this paper profiles the big three OMG's,
i.e., Hell's Angels, the Outlaws, and the Bandidos. Although originating
in America, these OMG's have established chapters in countries
throughout the world, and this has included the exporting of the
criminal image and activities of OMG's. The interlocking networks of
OMG's on a global scale has allowed American-based OMG's to link common
criminal enterprises and the benefits derived from them. In 1991
Interpol created Operation Rockers to counter the rapid expansion of
OMG's throughout the world. The objectives of this project are to
identify motorcycle gangs that are engaged in continuous criminal
activities; to identify each gang's membership, hierarchy, modus
operandi, and specific criminal activity; to correlate the information
for analysis and dissemination; to assist member countries in the
exchange of criminal intelligence information; and to identify specific
contact officers within Interpol's National Central Bureau who can then
link up with law enforcement agencies that have expertise with OMG's.
Because of the profits involved in their expanded criminal enterprises,
experts expect that OMG expansion efforts will continue.
“Motorcycle Gangs or Motorcycle Mafia?” by S Trethewy and T
Katz. Police Chief, vol.65, no.4 (53-60), April 1998.
With more than 50 years
to hone their criminal "skills," outlaw motorcycle gangs have become a
criminal force to be reckoned with. They have organized behind a
hierarchical structure with bylaws and meetings. Some gangs are so
concerned about their image that they have copyrighted and trademarked
their logos and gang names. Members attend functions (runs) together to
solidify their unity and brotherhood as a "family." These gangs do not
just work parallel with traditional organized crime groups, they
cooperate on joint ventures and compete in other areas. Furthermore,
their inter-gang connections with prison gangs, the Ku Klux Klan, other
white supremacy groups, street gangs, and drug groups have enhanced
their criminal networking, allowing their tentacles to reach all parts
of society. It is imperative that interagency joint law enforcement task
force operations rethink their efforts to combat this threat, since no
one agency has the means to investigate and prosecute outlaw motorcycle
gangs successfully. Recent cases by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and
Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Administration have resulted in
multiple arrests of Hell's Angels and Hessians. FBI agents have arrested
members of the Devil's Disciples and Outlaws. The more successful cases
involved the experience and expertise of local and State police who
joined with the Federal agents.
““Girl Power” and Participation in Macho Recreation: The Case of Female
Harley Riders” by Catherine A. Roster. Leisure Sciences,
vol.29, no.5 (443-461), Oct 2007.
This study examines
females' participation in the male-dominated sport of motorcycling.
Group interviews with female motorcyclists explore the meaning of this
leisure activity in their lives and various factors that facilitate
their participation. A grounded-theory approach reveals five sources of
empowerment that women gain by participating in motorcycling. This study
demonstrates the role facilitators play in creating and cultivating
sources of empowerment. It also exposes how feelings of guilt,
vulnerability, and concern about societal images can undermine women's
feelings of empowerment. “Girl power” represents women's attempts to
redefine femininity in a way that embraces the positive aspects of both
femininity and masculinity and resists negative stereotypes that
restrict women's choices of leisure pursuits.
“Interpol's "Project Rockers" Helps Disrupt Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs”
by B W Smith, et al. Police Chief, vol.65, no.9 (54-56), Sept
In February 1991 Interpol
created Project Rockers to identify motorcycle gangs engaged in
continuous criminal activities, their membership, modus operandi and
specific criminal activity, and to assist member nations in exchanging
and correlating information. The United States and 24 other Interpol
member countries currently participate in Project Rockers. As the result
of Program initiatives: (1) the president of a Dublin, Ireland, outlaw
motorcycle gang who was wanted by Irish authorities for firearms
violations was apprehended and deported from the United States; (2) 40
percent of the foreign Hell's Angels members attempting to attend the
gang's 50th Anniversary and World Run in California were denied entry
into the United States based upon extensive criminal records and felony
convictions; (3) the DEA and the Belgian police were able to arrest a
Norwegian fugitive facing a 60-year drug sentence in the United States;
and (4) 18 members of a cocaine-smuggling and money-laundering
conspiracy were arrested; the conspiracy involved the Hell's Angels, La
Cosa Nostra and Colombian drug cartel members.
“Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs in Canada” by Andre Thouin. Gazette,
vol.61, issue 7-12 (15-37), July/Aug 1999.
Outlaw bikers, with their
personal criminal associates, present a serious economic and social
threat to Canadian society. Since 1996, Canada has adopted a three-tier
national strategy to combat the outlaw motorcycle gangs. The article
outlines the strategy’s components. In addition, the article examines
outlaw motorcycle gangs’ requirements for membership, initiation rites
and policies regarding gang colors and insignias. The article presents
details about gangs in different geographical areas: (1) the Yukon,
Northwest Territories and Nunavut; (2) British Columbia, where police
are concerned that the Hells Angels can and will use threats and
intimidation to thwart police action and disrupt the judicial system;
(3) Alberta; (4) Saskatchewan, which is prime territory for Hells Angels
expansion; (5) Manitoba, which has a new initiative to combat motorcycle
theft that can affect outlaw bikers; and (6) Ontario. It also describes
several emergency task force anti-gang operations.
“Truth About Outlaw Bikers & What You Can Expect If They Come to Your
Town” by Andrew M. Grascia. Journal of Gang Research,
vol.11, no.4 (1-15), summer 2004.
In the late 1940's,
bikers vandalized the town of Hollister, CA when a member of the biker
group called the Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington was arrested for
fighting. From this time, approximately 1 percent of biker groups have
prided themselves on being "outlaws" who flaunt the laws and values of
society. Currently, it is estimated that there are between 300 to 900
outlaw biker gangs in America, with some gangs having more than 1
chapter. There are four outlaw biker gangs -- Hells Angels, Outlaws,
Pagans, and Bandidos -- that control most of the biker world. Although
biker gangs may be based in a particular area, they travel freely in a
format called "biker runs." The bikers travel as a group on trips that
are highly organized and planned, with numerous security precautions.
Narcotics distribution is believed to be the biggest money-maker for the
Big Four biker gangs. Intelligence collection is important in
determining the crime patterns and vulnerabilities of biker gangs.
Undercover work that involves attending some of their regular meetings
and participating in biker runs is the best way to collect intelligence
information. This article also describes police interviewing techniques
with biker gang members. This article concludes that biker gangs are the
new organized crime group of the world. They are highly sophisticated
and have millions of dollars to counter law enforcement and prosecution
efforts. The Big Four have no restraints when it comes to achieving
their criminal goals. In 2002 alone there were at least 61 incidents of
extreme violence that involved the Big Four in the United States and
“Bonds of Brotherhood: The Origin and Growth of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs”
by Heather Hamilton. Gazette, vol.64, no.3 (4-5), 2002.
Outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs)
first appeared in the United States in the late 1940's as returning
soldiers with few job opportunities formed motorcycle clubs to regain
bonds of brotherhood. The first Hells Angels chapter emerged in 1948. In
the 1980's the Hells Angels required that new club chapters have
permanent members with expertise in profitable criminal activities.
Currently, the Hells Angels have 217 chapters in 27 countries with
approximately 3,000 members, and they continue to expand. In Canada,
OMGs first appeared in Ontario and Quebec in the early 1950's.
Throughout the 1980's and 1990's, the Hells Angels continually expanded
their chapters and membership. Currently, there are 26 OMGs in the
country, with the Hells Angels being the most powerful and tightly
structured. Across the country, OMGs, particularly the Hells Angles, are
involved in money laundering, intimidation, assaults, attempted murder,
murder, fraud, theft, counterfeiting, loan-sharking, extortion,
prostitution, escort agencies, strip clubs, the possession and
trafficking of illegal weapons, stolen goods, contraband, and illicit
alcohol and cigarettes. A chapter operates in a given city or region and
maintains independence over internal discipline and criminal activities
of the chapter in its region. Wearing colors that bear the insignia of
the gang is the culmination of the biker's training period. A fortified
clubhouse equipped with a sophisticated security system serves as a
chapter's meeting place. Patches and tattoos show members' status within
“Motorcycle Gangs: The New Face of Organized Crime” by Edward J.
McDermott. Journal of Gang Research, vol.13, no.2 (27-36), winter
In contrast to recent
popular portrayals of outlaw motorcycle gangs as groups of harmless,
misunderstood outcasts, the author contends that outlaw motorcycle gang
members are dangerous criminals who are heavily involved in the
international drug trade, particularly methamphetamine. Previous
research on the criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs,
particularly Hells Angeles, is presented as evidence of the author’s
argument. Research from the National Drug Intelligence Center from 2002
and 2003 illustrates the increasing methamphetamine problem in Maryland,
Pennsylvania, and Virginia, which identifies outlaw motorcycle gangs as
the principal dealers and traffickers of the drug in all three States.
The author describes how outlaw motorcycle gangs gain power in prisons
through criminal “business” contacts and how they hold their power by
exploiting criminal street gangs like the “Bloods” and Crips,” who are
used to shield the outlaw motorcycle gangs from law enforcement. Their
tactics for creating legitimacy in society are examined and range from
establishing legitimate businesses to gaining education and making
generous charitable donations. The public is urged to see outlaw
motorcycle gangs for what they are and to break the mystic and
acceptance these groups have managed to gain.
“Use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) in the Examination of an Outlaw
Motorcycle Gang” by Donnay McNally and Jonathan Alston.
Journal of Gang Research, vol.13, no.3 (1-25), spring 2006.
The results indicated
that SNA can be effectively used to aid law enforcement investigations
of organized criminal groups. SNA should be used to enhance
intelligence-led policing, not replace it, and can be effective when the
goal is to disrupt or dismantle a criminal group. In the current case,
the social network analysis of an OMG in Canada revealed that key
figures in a criminal organization may not be those who hold formal
leadership roles. Data were collected from Canadian intelligence
agencies responsible for intelligence data on organized crime groups.
Due to the sensitive nature of the data, all dates were omitted by the
intelligence agencies. Data provided information on three OMG networks
chosen for their close proximity and similarity of function. Smallest
Space Analysis (SSA) was employed to develop a matrix illustrating the
associations between the members of the network. Calculations of
centrality, closeness, and network cliques are presented and key
communication channels flowing through the networks are examined. The
authors note that the amount of information able to be included in a
social network analysis is limited only by the information collection
process. The use of association-based information can enhance a social
network analysis, such as telephone records and directional data.
“Finding a Formula That Fits: Partnerships Spell Success in the Fight
Against Outlaw Bikers” by Heather Hamilton. Gazette,
vol.64, no.3 (7-9), 2002.
Operation Springtime 2001
provided the first blueprint for partnerships in effective operations
against outlaw biker gangs. When the one-day police operation was
completed in March 2001, police at the national, provincial, and
municipal levels had arrested 138 bikers and their associates during
simultaneous raids throughout Quebec and other parts of Canada. This
project became the model for other investigations. Successes against the
biker gangs have been attributed largely to better coordination and
cooperation among police forces and better availability of tools such as
new legislation, funding, and personnel to conduct long-term
investigations. This article describes recent operations that have
succeeded in weakening the criminal impact of outlaw biker gangs across
Canada. In Alberta, Operation Shadow involved 200 police from the
Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police in Alberta and Kelowna (British Columbia), as well as
Criminal intelligence Service Alberta. Police agencies in Saskatchewan
and Manitoba were also involved in task force operations. The operation
targeted the Hells Angels in Alberta. Similar task force operations were
conducted in other jurisdictions. Through interagency cooperation in
jurisdictional task forces supplied with sufficient resources and
personnel, investigations and coordinated arrests have seriously
disrupted the criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
“Becoming a Racist: Women in Contemporary Ku Klux Clan and Neo-Nazi
Groups” by Kathleen M. Blee. Gender and Society, vol.10,
no.6 (680-702). 1996
This article examines how
women members of contemporary U.S. racist groups reconcile the
male-oriented agendas of organized racism with understandings of
themselves and their gendered self-interests. Using life history
narratives and in-depth interviews, the author examines how women racial
activists construct self-understandings that fit agendas of the racist
movement and how they reshape understandings of movement goals to fit
their own beliefs and life experiences. This analysis situates the
political actions of women racists in rational, if deplorable,
understandings of self and society.
“Skinheads: Manifestations of the Warrior Culture of the New Urban
Tribes” by Gregg W. Etter Sr. Journal of Gang Research,
vol.6, no.3 (9-21) spring 1999.
Skinheads take their name
from their military basic- training-style haircuts. They view themselves
as the divinely chosen protectors of their race and nation. They believe
they will be called on to defend both the white race and the nation in a
race war that they believe is forthcoming. Among the urban street gangs
that compose the new urban tribes, the skinheads are the most vocal in
their adoption of the warrior culture. Skinheads believe the white man
built America and that the Jews and minorities are undermining and
corrupting what whites have built. The warrior culture in the United
States and to a lesser extent in Great Britain has been changed by
political and social events into a pseudo-paramilitary type culture that
many of the white youth participate in through games, movies, books,
etc. Given the many social, cultural, and economic changes that have
impacted American male youths' development of self-esteem through
gender, economic, and social roles, many youth who have failed to
develop a satisfactory identity within the context of these changes have
opted to become part of a warrior culture. They fantasize about the
powers and features of a paramilitary warrior who fights to preserve
what he perceives to be the status, achievements, and dominance of his
tribe. After reviewing the history of skinheads from the British Union
of Fascists (1923-39) through the American skinheads from the late
1970's to the present, this article discusses skinhead music; religion;
totemism, graffiti, and tattoos; skinhead crimes; and the transmission
of skinhead culture (communications).
“Sounds of Hate: White Power Rock and Roll and the Neo-Nazi Skinhead
Subculture” by John Cotter. Terrorism and Political Violence,
vol.11, no.2. 1999
This article deals with
the most violent sub-group of a variety of contemporary right-wing
extremist organizations - neo-Nazi skinheads. Specifically, I argue that
in order to understand the growth and violent nature of this subculture
it is necessary to address the important role played by its main
propaganda tool called white power rock and roll. After reviewing the
close relationship between this music and the historical development of
the present day international neo-Nazi skinhead network, I examine the
main themes found within white power rock and roll by placing them
within the context of contemporary right-wing extremist ideology and
noting differences where appropriate. In general, this propaganda seeks
to incite violent activity by accentuating perceived threats from a
conspiracy of enemies and by constructing a 'warrior' subculture that
glorifies aggression and sacrifice. Contrary to some predictions,
skinheads will continue to present a significant problem in terms of
hate crime due to the steady proliferation of producers of this
propaganda and profits associated with its distribution.
“Militant Neo-Nazism in Sweden” by Tore Bjorgo. Terrorism and
Political Violence, vol.5, no.3. 1993
This study examines the
emergence of a neo-Nazi terrorist movement in Sweden, focusing on the
largest group, Vitt Ariskt Motstånd (White Aryan Resistance). VAM is
inspired by traditional national socialism, the militant wing of the
skinhead movement, South African apartheid ideology and, especially, US
racist groups like 'The Order'. Notions of the 'Zionist Occupation
Government' (ZOG) and the coming 'racial war' are central in VAM's
worldview. The adaptation of this extreme revolutionary ideology
radicalized the group towards terrorism. The quest for status and
prestige within the group and vis-à-vis other groups has also been an
important factor in this radicalization process.
“White Supremacy Music: What Does it Mean to Our Youth” by
Andrew M. Grascia. Journal of Gang Research, vol.10, no.2
(25-31), winter 2003.
Web sites where persons
can order hate music on the Internet abound. The author of this article
ordered five CDs of five different groups from some of these Web sites.
Many of the CDs predict and advocate a race war and encourage White
youth to prepare for it by obtaining weapons. Hate music can be broken
down into several categories that include White Power Rock, National
Socialist Black Metal, Fascist Experimental, and Racist Country. In
message and terminology, hate music promotes the causes of white
supremacist groups. This is evident even in the titles of the CDs, which
include the following: "Land of the Whites," "Brown Town Burning Down,"
"Gays Gotta Go," "Black Plague Terror," and "Get Out of My Land."
Apparently there are no statistics kept on how many hate-music CDs have
been sold worldwide; however, Interpol (International Police
Organization) estimated that during 1999 the European neo-Nazi music
industry was worth $3.4 million a year. When Resistance Records was
raided in 1997-98, some 200,000 tapes and CDs worth $3 million were
confiscated. Record labels that produce hate music are not mainstream,
and in some cases they have changed their names several times to add to
the confusion about how widespread this music has become. The
availability and accessibility of this music should be of concern to
parents whose children may be exposed to hate music. In many cases, the
Web sites that market this music contain spoken hate messages designed
to recruit people for the white supremacist cause.
“Perceived Effects of Religion on White Supremacist Culture” by
Gregg W. Etter Sr. Journal of Gang Research, vol.9, no.4 (15-24),
The author reviewed
religious traditions that are represented within the white supremacist
sub-culture that encourage the sub-cultures race views and may
contribute to the violence undertaken by white supremacist groups. The
relationship between religion and extremist groups in general is
discussed. Specifically, the author discusses the Christian Identity
movement, the World Church of the Creator, Satanism, and Germanic/Norse
Paganism. Each faith includes a belief in a coming apocalyptic race war.
The central beliefs of each individual religion are presented. Further
sources of information on each group are referenced. The author
concludes that these religions provide white supremacists with a
religious justification for revolutionary activities and other violence
and additionally provides these groups with certain First Amendment
“Skinheads: A Three Nation Comparison” by Wendy L. Hicks.
Journal of Gang Research, vol.11, no.2 (51-73), winter 2004.
Research has found that
the Skinhead Nation is highly organized, shares common political
viewpoints, and works in concert with other right-wing hate groups such
as the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation, and the neo-Nazi Party on an
international scale. The earliest "skinheads" in Great Britain were
working-class youths from the poorer strata of society, who were
concentrated in the East End of London. The skinhead appearance
consisted of short hair, work jeans, or stay-pressed trousers, plain
button-down Ben Sherman or Fred Perry shirts, black felt "donkey
jackets," "Blue Beat" hats, and high dockworker boots. The violence of
the skinheads reflected the ideals of super masculinity and machismo.
The primary target for skinhead violence in England was the Pakistanis,
who were sharply differentiated in British society by racial
characteristics, religious rituals, food taboos, and a value system that
encouraged deference, frugality, and the profit motive. In America the
skinheads are basically a youth movement. Joining the skinheads is the
first step in recruitment of a young person interested in becoming
involved in the white supremacy movement. Unlike Britain and Europe,
American skinheads are a "suburban and small-town phenomenon" (Ridgeway,
1990). American skinheads are also more violent when confronted by
minorities than are their European counterparts. In America the single
most stated reason for joining the Skinhead Nation is to fight for the
survival of the White race. Skinhead violence in America was once random
and impulsive, but recently the violence has become more organized and
planned. In examining the socioeconomic conditions that tend to increase
the motivation among youth to join the skinheads, this paper considers
the economic situations of both France and Great Britain, two countries
with significantly different situations regarding white supremacist
organizations. It notes that one of the primary factors in the creation
of a hostile climate toward ethnic-minority groups is the political
reaction of the government to newly arrived immigrants and how those
governmental policies are interpreted by the native citizenry. The
economic analysis of Britain and France concludes that the underlying
mechanisms of skinhead recruitment fail when the feelings of abandonment
by the governmental system are absent. In France there is an
institutionalized front that maintains the subservience of immigrants,
such that French workers need not be worried about being replaced by an
immigrant worker. In Britain and the United States the situation is
reversed. Working-class people fear the possibility that their job will
be taken by a foreigner or a Black, further eroding their quality of
life and socioeconomic status. Such a climate provides ample opportunity
and motivation for racist hate groups to thrive.
“Racism as Adolescent Male Rite of Passage” by Michael Kimmel.
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, vol.36, no.2 (202-218),
In-depth interviews with
ex-neo-Nazis in Scandinavia reveal a profile of the extreme
right that is both strikingly similar to and significantly
different from the profile of their counterparts in the
United States. Drawn from clients at EXIT, a state-funded
organization based in Sweden, these interviews reveal that the
extreme right draws adherents from a declining lower middle
class background, small towns, and metropolitan suburbs, and
from divorced families. Their mean age is in the mid-teens to
late-teens, and their commitment to specific ideological tenets
is low. Their entry and exit have less political and more
developmental and situational origins than the Americans'.
Detailed interviews suggest that participation on the extreme
right is, for some Scandinavian adolescents, more a masculine
right of passage than evidence of a firm commitment to
“Neo-Nazi Normalization: The Skinhead Movement and Integration into
Normative Structures” by Amy Beth Cooper. Sociological
Inquiry, vol.76, no.2 (145-165). 2006.
Skinheads, a subgroup of
the larger Neo-Nazi Movement, traditionally presented themselves in a
blatant, intimidating fashion replete with tattoos, Nazi symbology, and
startling group imagery. Recently, however, the Skins have adopted a new
tactic for recruitment: normalization. Members now strive to appear and
behave more in accordance with mainstream societal standards in order to
achieve perceived similarity with potential members. Using General
Strain Theory to attribute the historical-sociological emergence of the
Skinhead Movement to affirmative action, this article explores the
phenomenon of normalization with a focus on the Skins’ evolving
self-presentation, and describes a recent behavioral case example of the
tactical change. Normalization is functionally explained in terms of
frame alignment and frame resonance, while its effectiveness is
demonstrated through Durkheim's construct of mechanical solidarity.
“Political Crime and the Case of
Young Neo-Nazis: A Question of Methodology” by Judith
Bessant. Terrorism and Political Violence, vol.7, no.4 (94-116).
This article critically
analyses some of the traditional scholarship that deals with the rise of
ultra-right politics and the requisites for the emergence of such
collective action. It is argued that such approaches have limited
explanatory value for understanding why people commit political crimes.
The question is asked whether traditional concerns with locating causes
and the tendency to offer structural determinants (such as social
dislocation and high levels of unemployment) provide the best
explanations for the appeal of such politics. The article continues by
developing a rationale and framework for an alternative interpretative
or hermeneutic approach to research on contemporary Nazism.
Boys to Terrorist Men: Target Recruitment of Nazi Skinheads” by
Randy Blazak. American Behavioral Scientist, vol.44, no.6
There is an important
distinction between hate crimes and hate group activity. Although
reported hate crimes appear to be declining, there is evidence that hate
group activity is increasing. This includes hate group consolidation,
the increase in hate Web sites, and more sophisticated recruitment of
youth. This research explores how hate groups, specifically racist
skinheads, target specific youth populations for recruitment. Using a
layman's interpretation of Durkheim's "anomie," skinheads look for youth
that live in a world of change. Based on ethnographic research and
guided interviews, this research finds that older Nazi skinheads
manipulate anomic teens and indoctrinate them into a world of terror.
“White Racist Extremist Gang Members: A Behavioral Profile” by T
F McCurrie. Journal of Gang Research, vol.5, no.2 (51-60), winter
White racist extremist gang members, while few
in terms of their representation in the total United States gang
member population, cause a disproportionate number of problems.
Their gangs, composed of only whites or Caucasians, are most closely
associated by the public with hate crimes motivated by racial bias
and racial/ethnic prejudice. The sample for this study consisted of
82 hard core white racist extremists from the Aryan Brotherhood,
Aryan Nation, and Aryan Youth Movements, Ku Klux Klan, neo-nazis,
skinhead groups, white power groups, and motorcycle gangs. The
profile of the white racist extremist gang member presented in this
article includes data in the following categories: (1) school and
education; (2) sexual activity; (3) family life background; (4)
religious background; (5) drug-related activities; (6) reasons for
joining a gang; and (7) reasons for quitting a gang. The article
also includes profiles of gang organization and behavior, and of how
gang members adjust to life in a correctional institution.
“White Power Gangs: The NLR (Nazi Low Riders) Story” by B Belt
and G Doyle.
Law and Order, vol.46, no.3 (52-56), March 1998.
The NLR is the fastest
growing prison gang in California. The tenets of the gang are rooted in
white supremacy, which translates into racial hatred of blacks; Hispanic
associates also participate in the criminal activities of the NLR
because of their shared hatred of blacks. The NLR was formed within a
correctional institution. Membership has grown out of necessity and
popularity, absorbing other white gangs, generically called Peckerwoods,
into the ranks. There are now NLR members in custody in the Federal
system who have been implicated in at least one murder in a Federal
institution in 1997. As NLR members parole into California communities,
criminal gang activity flourishes exponentially among whites as never
before. A driving force behind the NLR is the manufacture, sale, and use
of methamphetamine. Connections have been found between the NLR and
outlaw motorcycle gangs such as the Hells Angels. These associations and
investigations have led many in law enforcement to conclude that the NLR
is the new enforcement arm of the Aryan Brotherhood. Some lessons have
been learned through the profiling of white supremacy gangs. First,
these gangs are contenders among street and prison gangs, and members
should be treated with vigor and aggressiveness by law enforcement.
Second, no one single agency can monitor and combat the NLR; multiagency
cooperation and support are required. Also, females are entrenched in
criminal gang activity and should not be overlooked in investigations.
“Nazi Low Riders: A California-Born White Supremacist Youth Gang Hit the Big
Time in Recent Years. Then It Hit a Wall” by Camille Jackson.
Intelligence Report, issue 114 (10-13), summer 2004.
The NLR was founded in
the late 1970's by John Stinson, a White supremacist, while he was an
inmate in a California Youth Authority prison. A small number of Latinos
were allowed to join, and they were put on the front lines in the gang's
drug trafficking both inside and outside prison. In recent years, the
NLR has spread from the California Youth Authority into the adult
prisons of California and several other States. All members must be
loyal to the White race and subscribe to an ideology of hate, especially
against Blacks and "race traitors." Although experts report that most
NLR crimes outside of prison are related to the drug trade, NLR members
have been involved in some of the most disturbing hate crimes in
California, including the kidnapping and murder of a bisexual man, a
near-fatal hammer attack on an African-American, and a baseball-bat
attack on a Black youth. In recent years, the NLR has faced the same
countermeasures as the declining Aryan Brotherhood; the NLR has been
declared a prison gang, which warrants the segregation of gang members
while they are in prison. This strategy, along with the 2003 convictions
of several NLR leaders, has led the NLR to make alliances with a
smaller, less well-known group, namely, Public Enemy Number One (PENI).
PENI and the NLR have worked with the Aryan Brotherhood in various
combinations in the drug trade.
“Nazi Low Riders” by A Valdez. Police: The Law Enforcement
Magazine, vol.23, no.3 (46-48), March 1999.
The origin of the NLR can
be traced to inmates held by the California Youth Authority (State
prison for juveniles in California). As the white-supremacist Aryan
Brotherhood was targeted for suppression in correctional facilities by
the Department of Corrections, the NLR emerged as allies or soldiers to
continue the in-prison illegal activities of the Aryan Brotherhood.
Considered both a prison and a street gang, the NLR has developed a
reputation for being cold-blooded and ruthless. NLR members have been
linked to murders, home-invasion robberies, witness intimidation, drug
sales, and assaults on police officers. NLR female associates and gang
members can be just as ruthless and violent as their male counterparts.
They run interference for the male members in their operations. Around
1995, law enforcement officers recognized the NLR as a gang growing in
numbers and gaining strength through the lucrative methamphetamine
trade. In California alone there are more than 1,000 NLR members. The
NLR, with its white-supremacist philosophy, has recruited from the ranks
of the skinheads. Some skinhead gangs have also aligned themselves with
the NLR. This type of alignment might facilitate the building of a
national reputation for NLR.
“Aryans Interrupted: The Aryan Nations, Long a Top Neo-Nazi Group, Is
Homeless, Split, Accused of Blackmail, and in Jeopardy of Irrelevance”
by Mark Potok. Intelligence Report, issue 106 (6-10), summer
In 2001 the Aryan Nations
group was forced to give up its 20-acre Idaho headquarters compound in
order to pay $6.3 million in damages awarded by an Idaho jury, in a
lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Leadership disputes
abound within The Aryan Nation organization, with competing Web sites
and white supremacist groups lining up on one of two sides. The Aryan
Nations chapters that still survive are split between the rival factions
of Richard Butler, on his land in Pennsylvania, and Harold Ray Redfeairn
and August Kreis, on Kreis' land in Ohio. Both groups vow to
reconstitute the movement. In Pennsylvania, 650 locals signed a
full-page ad in the local newspaper supporting tolerance after Butler
visited there. Furthermore, at the last rally convened by Butler, on
Hitler's Birthday, and which was attended by only a dozen supporters,
his luggage got lost at the airport, his car reservations were lost, and
the cab driver refused to give him a lift to the rally.
“Problem of Gangs and Security Threat Groups (STG's) in American Prisons
Today: A Special NGCRC Report” by George W. Knox. Journal of
Gang Research, vol.12, no.1 (1-76), fall 2004.
Over the last decade
there have been marked increases in certain problems related to gangs
and STG’s in prisons. The current research points to modest increases in
the overall scope of the gang problem in prisons and draws attention
toward new and potentially explosive problems with gangs and STG’s in
prison environments. An overview of gang demographics is offered and
recommendations on how to combat the problem are presented. Survey
questionnaires were distributed to any and all adult correctional
facilities known to exist in the 50 States during the first 6 months of
2004. Respondents returned 193 surveys from 49 States. Most questions
used in the survey were previously used in surveys by the National Gang
Crime Research Center (NGCRC). New survey items focused on White racist
extremists and their religious practices in prison. The majority of
respondents believed that tougher laws were needed to control the prison
gang problem; that prison is a recruitment ground for new gang members;
and that Federal agencies should play a greater role in prosecuting gang
crimes. Survey data allowed the generation of the “Top Ten American
Prison Gangs” which include the Aryan Brotherhood, Aryan Nation,
Skinheads, and the Ku Klux Klan. The survey also revealed that an
astonishing 53.2 percent of prison officials did not know what the
“Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act” (RLUIPA) is;
RLUIPA extended new religious rights to inmates, some of whom quickly
used these rights to organize gang activity. Activities controlled by
gangs in State prisons included drugs (87.8 percent), protection (76.2
percent), gambling (73.2 percent), and extortion (70.1 percent). Factors
differentiating gang riots, race riots, and religious riots are
considered. Respondents identified segregated housing and intelligence
gathering as among the most innovative solutions for combating the gang
problem in American prisons.
“The Role of Religion in the Collective Identity of the White Racialist
Movement” by Betty A. Dobratz. Journal for the Scientific
Study of Religion, vol.40, no.2 (287-302), June 2001.
This paper applies the
concept of identity to the white racialist or separatist movement,
typically referred to as the white supremacist movement in many
mainstream publications. While similar racial identity and shared
perceptions of the meaning of racialism bind the movement together,
there are other important concerns that potentially divide the movement
but also have served to attract members to it. One of these potentially
divisive areas, the differences in religious views, is explored here
through an analysis of the white separatist literature and interviews
with movement members. Three belief systems of movement
members—Christian or Israel Identity, Church of the Creator, and Odinism—are
examined. All three contribute to strengthening the racial identity of
white racialists, but are at the same time potentially antagonistic to
each other. It is suggested that this religious divide will be a key
issue in influencing the future development of the movement.
“The Drug Money Maze” by David A. Andelman. Foreign Affairs.
Council on Foreign Relations, July/August 1994.
The money laundering of
drug cartels has become a complex high-tech business. Law enforcement
officials have stepped up scrutiny of the global banking system in an
effort to short-circuit these illicit financial networks. As the risks
have increased, the premium that money launderers exact from cartels has
more than quadrupled. The task now is for the United States to convince
foreign nations and bankers that crime, even in suitcases full of small
denominations, does not pay.
“Illegal Drugs in Colombia: From Illegal Economic Boom to Social Crisis”
by Francisco E. Thoumi. The ANNALS of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science, Vol. 582, No. 1, (102-116). American
Academy of Political and Social Science, 2002.
During the past thirty
years, the illegal drug industry has marked Colombia's
development. In no other country has the illegal drug
industry had such dramatic social, political, and economic
effects. This short article provides a synthesis of the development
of the marijuana, coca-cocaine, and poppy-opium-heroin illegal
industries. It studies the development of the drug cartels and
marketing networks and the participation of guerrillas and
paramilitary forces in the industry. The size of the illegal
industry and its economic effects are also surveyed and its
effects on the political system analyzed. The article ends
with a discussion of the evolution of government policies and
social attitudes toward the industry. The article shows that
in the early years, the illegal industry was perceived by
many as positive, how it evolved so that today it provides
substantial funding for the country's ambiguous war, and that
it is one of the main obstacles to peace.
“Fighting Drug Cartels on the Mexico-United States Border” by
Samuel Gonzalez-Ruiz. United Nations Publications, vol.1, no.2.
Forum on Crime and Society, 2001.
In the present article,
the author describes the Mexican contribution into investigations into
Mexican cartels specializing in trafficking of drugs into the United
States of America. An account is given of the investigative efforts of
prosecutor Jose Patino Moreno, who was killed by organized criminal
groups in 2000. His case illustrates the difficult conditions
surrounding the fight against organized crime in Mexico, including
corruption among public officials. The article continues with an
analysis of the impact of drug consumption in the United States upon the
growth of organized crime and related violence in Columbia and Mexico.
“The Development of an Illegal Drug Market: Drug Consumption and Trade
in Post-Soviet Russia” by Letizia Paoli. British Journal of
Criminology, vol.42 (21-39). Center for Crime & Justice Studies,
A nationwide market in
illegal drugs has developed in Russia in the decade following the
collapse of the Soviet Union. At the same time as Russian drug demand
consistently expanded and diversified, the country has become fully
integrated in international narcotics exchanges. Relying on the results
of a research project commissioned by the UN Office for Drug Control and
Crime Prevention, the article reconstructs the development of the
illegal drug market in post-Soviet Russia. It describes the expansion of
both drug demand and drug supply, analyses the organization of drug
exchanges in Russian cities and investigates the local distribution
“Crouching Fox, Hidden Eagle: Drug trafficking and transnational
security – A perspective from the Tijuana-San Diego border” by
Randy Willoughby. Crime, Law, and Social Change, vol.40, no.1.
Springer Netherlands, 2004.
The combination of
mobilizing for homeland protection and conducting a major military
campaign in Afghanistan underscores the profound security implications
of drug trafficking. In the case of Mexico, drug smuggling has evolved
under the influence of several dynamics, and has become particularly
threatening to the state and society in the last ten to twenty years
with the cocaine boom. The historic ability of the Mexican political
system to manage corruption has diminished if not collapsed as cartels
have largely moved from a relationship of symbiosis with and
subordination to the authorities to one of dominance and intimidation of
them. The US has facilitated this process in several unfortunate ways
beyond enormous drug demand. Recent developments, including amore
constructive relationship between the US and Mexico following the
elections of Fox and then Bush, offer some hope that the future of
Mexico will follow the successes of the anti-mafia campaign in Italy
more than the ongoing disaster of the anti-guerrilla campaign in
“Mexico’s War on Drugs: No Margin for Maneuver” by Jorge Chabat.
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,
vol.582, no.1 (134-148). American Academy of Political and Social
Illegal drugs threaten
the Mexican governance because of the corruption they
generate. The Mexican government has been fighting this
threat for years in a context of institutional weakness and
strong pressures from the United States. The fact that Mexico
is a natural supplier of illegal drugs to the biggest market
in the world, the United States, puts the Mexican government
in a very complex situation with no alternatives other than
to continue fighting drugs with very limited institutional and
human resources. In this process, Mexico has no margin for
maneuver to change the parameters of the war on drugs.
“Drug Supply and Demand” by Joseph R. Fuentes and Robert J.
Kelly. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, vol. 15, no.4
(328-351). SAGE Publications, 1999.
The article considers the
role of governments and their agencies in controlling and
containing cross-border drug trafficking. In essence,
government law enforcement stands as an intrusive middleman
between suppliers and buyers. Building effective partnerships
against drug trafficking and use requires first-rate professional
law enforcement, but it also needs remedies that other agencies
and institutions can provide. Cooperation with other governments
and their law enforcement apparatus is one prescription; another
is the internal mobilization of the public to create a
problem-solving strategy that neither the police nor the
public can produce by themselves.
“The Medellin Cartel: Why We Can’t Win the Drug War” by Robert
Flippone. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, vol. 17, no.4
This article details the
reasons why the supply reduction strategies aimed at winning the drug
war adopted by the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations cannot
work. Included in this article is a detailed examination of the
organizational structure of the Medellin cartel. The cartel's operations
extend well beyond the production and transportation of cocaine: The
political, social, and cultural activities the cartel undertakes extend
its influence well beyond those involved directly in the drug trade. In
addition, the financial benefits of narcotics trafficking provide
benefits to vast segments of Colombian society. The Call cartel has
learned from the mistakes of the Medellin cartel and is even more
effective at putting drugs on American streets. The total failure of
supply reduction programs is evidence of the strength of the cartels.
“A Total War on Drug Cartels” by Colonel Kevin G. O’Connell.
Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. 18 March 2005.
Illegal drugs are no
longer just a domestic problem. The drug trade business is a
multibillion dollar enterprise that is run by international criminals.
The drug lords behind these operations, non-nation-state actors, have
become more powerful than the nation-states in their respective regions.
The current “War on Drugs” strategy has offered little hope for any
decisive victory; instead it has dealt primarily with domestic drug
prevention, treatment, and market disruption. While solutions to this
growing problem are complex, there is a need to take a bigger picture
approach to this global situation; as a nation we need to declare a
“Total War on Drug Cartels.” In this paper, I will demonstrate that
because illegal drug trafficking is so inextricably linked to
international crime and terrorism, there is a critical need to increase
Department of Defense initiatives, in conjunction with the other
elements of national power, to develop a decisive anti-drug cartel
strategy that will provide security for our nation and its citizens at
home and abroad.
“Mexico is becoming the Next Colombia” by Ted Galen Carpenter.
Foreign Policy Briefing, no.87. CATO Institute, 15 Nov 2005.
Mexico is a major source
of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine for the U.S. market as well as
the principal transit and distribution point for cocaine coming in from
South America. For years, people both inside and outside Mexico have
worried that the country might descend into the maelstrom of corruption
and violence that has long plagued the chief drug-source country in the
Western Hemisphere, Colombia. There are growing signs that the
“Colombianization” of Mexico is now becoming a reality.
Organized Crime Gangs
“The New Criminal Conspiracy? Asian Gangs and Organized Crime in San
Fransisco” by Karen A. Joe. Journal of Research in Crime and
Delinquency, vol.31, no.4 (390-415). SAGE publications, 1994.
Research indicates that
there is wide variation in the social organization of gangs in relation
to drug sales. Few attempts have examined Asian gangs in this regard,
despite the prevalence of the conspiratorial view among some police,
policymakers, and journalists that Asian gangs are intricately connected
to organized crime groups in Chinese communities and Asia and to heroin
trafficking. This article examines the relationship between Asian gangs
and organized crime in light of current theoretical frameworks. The
analysis is based on data from an ethnographic study and suggests that
the connections between Asian gangs and organized crime operations are
not at all clear and are best conceptualized as associations between
individuals in groups rather than as criminal conspiracies. The
discussion provides several reasons for the absence of a formal
“Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism: Columbia: A Case Study”
by Patricia Bibes. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice,
vol.17, no.3 (243-258), 2001.
This article deals with
the complex relationships that exist among drug traffickers,
insurgent guerrilla groups, paramilitary forces, peasants,
and the government's military and police agencies in Colombia
and the use of violence and terrorism among them to achieve
disparate ends. Colombia was chosen as a case study because
of its importance as a key source country for coca leaf and
as an incubator for organized crime. The article also focuses
on the narco-terrorist nexus, which for years has threatened
the sovereignty of the country, and on strategies and institutional
initiatives to combat drug production, trafficking, and terrorism.
“A Tale of Two Cities: Gangs as Organized Crime Groups” by Scott
Decker, et al. Justice Quarterly, vol.15, no.3, 1998. HeinOnline,
This article examines the
extent to which street gangs are becoming organized crime groups. Active
gang members were asked about gang structure and organization, gang
activities, and relationships between their gang and other groups. Gang
members were interviewed in an emerging gang city, San Diego, and an
established gang city, Chicago. Members of one African-American gang and
one Hispanic gang were interviewed in each city. Roughly equal numbers
of members were imprisoned and on probation. The results suggest that,
with the exception of the Gangster Disciples in Chicago, there is little
evidence that gangs are assuming the attributes of organized crime
“Organized Crime, Corruption, and Punishment” by Maurice Kugler,
et al. Journal of Public Economics, vol.89, no.9-10, Sept 2005.
We analyze an oligopoly
model in which differentiated criminal organizations globally compete on
criminal activities and engage in local corruption to avoid punishment.
When bribing costs are low, that is badly-paid and dishonest law
enforcers work in a weak governance environment, and the rents from
criminal activity are sufficiently high, we find that increasing
policing and sanctions can generate higher crime rates. Indeed, beyond a
threshold, further increases in intended expected punishment create
incentives for organized crime to extend corruption rings, and ensuing
impunity results in a fall of actual expected punishment that yields
more rather than less crime.
“The Political Economy of Organized Crime: Providing Protection when the
State does not” by Stergios Skaperdas. Economics of
Governance, vol.2, no.3, Nov 2001.
Organized crime emerges
out of the power vacuum that is created by the absence of state
enforcement, and which can have many sources: geographic, social, and
ethnic distance, prohibition, or simply collapse of state institutions.
Mafias and gangs are hierarchically organized and can be thought of as
providing primitive state functions, with economic costs that are
typically much higher than those associated with modern governance.
Though organized crime cannot be completely eradicated, its control is
necessary, since it can easily corrupt existing institutions of
governance. Some thoughts on what can be done to control organized crime
“Organised Crime in South Africa: An Assessment of Its Nature and
Origins” by Peter Gastrow. Institute for Security Studies,
South Africa, (1-75) Aug 1998.
Information for the study
came from police sources and official documents. The analysis revealed
that notorious and often colorful gangs and criminal groups have been
present in South Africa throughout its recorded history. Street gangs
and the more sophisticated criminal syndicates had developed many common
characteristics by 1980. The focus of police investigations in the 1980s
was more on individuals than on the criminal conspiracies or the
networks behind the organized criminal conduct. In addition, the
protection of the political status quo was a higher priority for the
government than was crime prevention. The profits from drug trafficking
and the police focus on national security rather than crime control were
central to the rapid expansion of organized crime in the 1980s. However,
the police restructuring of 1990-91 led to a focus on the planners and
organizers of crime. The release of Nelson Mandela and the end to the
ban on political organizations accelerated the transition process of the
police. The six case studies illustrate different composition,
structure, method of operating, and stage of development of criminal
syndicates. South Africa now needs to ensure that it takes steps through
policy, legislation, and resources to link up with the international
efforts against organized crime, as exemplified by the treaty-drafting
efforts of the United Nations and the European Union on this topic.
“The Economics of Organized Crime and Optimal Law Enforcement”
by N. Garoupa. Economic Inquiry, vol.38, no.2 (278-288), April
This article extends the
optimal law enforcement literature to organized crime. I model the
criminal organization as a vertical structure where the principal
extracts some rents from the agents through extortion. As long as
extortion is a costless transfer from individuals to the criminal
organization, not only the existence of extortion is social welfare
improving because it makes engaging in a criminal offense less
attractive but it also allows the government to reduce expenditures on
law enforcement. When extortion is costly because the criminal
organization resorts to threats and violence, the existence of extortion
is social welfare diminishing and may lead to higher expenditures on law
“The Paradoxes of Organized Crime” by Letizia Paoli. Crime,
Law and Social Change, vol.37, no.1, Jan 2002.
The paper argues that the
concept of organised crime inconsistently incorporates the following
notions: a) the provision of illegal goods and services and b) a
criminal organization, understood as a large-scale collectivity,
primarily engaged in illegal activities with a well-defined collective
identity and subdivision of work among its members. Against this
superimposition, the author's contention is twofold: (1) The supply of
illegal commodities mainly takes place in a `disorganized' way and, due
to the constraints of product illegality, no immanent tendency towards
the development of large-scale criminal enterprises within illegal
markets exist. (2) Some lasting large-scale criminal organizations do
exist, but they are neither exclusively involved in illegal market
activities, nor is their development and internal configuration the
result of illegal market dynamics.
“The Causes of Organized Crime:
Do Criminals Organize Around Opportunities for Crime or Do Criminal
Opportunities Create New Offenders?” by Jay Albaneze. Journal
of Contemporary Criminal Justice, vol.16, no.4, (409-423), 2000.
This study examines the
assumption that crime-prone individuals or organizations move
to exploit changing criminal opportunities. A competing
explanation holds that new criminal opportunities (e.g.,
Internet access, money laundering, political upheaval, etc.)
provide motivation for individuals who formerly were not
connected with criminal activity. Detailed case studies of organized
crime groups and activities are used to examine the nexus between
criminal opportunities and criminal groups. A model that employs
both opportunity and offender-availability factors is proposed
to predict the incidence of organized crime activity. Such a
model also has implications for the extent to which law
enforcement agencies and public policy should focus on
surveillance of known criminal groups versus proactive
strategies to reduce criminal opportunities that emerge from
social and technological changes.
“Organized Crime: A Social Network Approach”
by Jeffrey Scott McIllwain. Crime, Law, and Social Change,
vol.32, no.4, Dec 1999.
This article applies the
anthropological approach of social network theory to the study of
organized crime in its local, domestic and transnational contexts. It
argues that a social network approach transcends existing criminological
paradigms like organizational, patron-client and enterprise theories in
that it emphasizes a common supposition held by each paradigm – that
human relationships form the basis for organized criminal activity. By
understanding the dynamics behind these relationships and the networks
they create, one can subsequently gain a clearer picture of organized
criminal activity across time, space and culture.
“Criminal Business Organizations, Street Gangs and "Wanna-Be" Groups: A
Vancouver Perspective” by Robert M. Gordon. Canadian Journal
of Criminology, vol.42, no.1, (39-60), Jan 2000.
The research focused on
three main groups: criminal business organizations, street gangs, and "wanna-be"
groups. Criminal business organizations are organized groups that
exhibit a formal structure and a high degree of sophistication; they are
comprised primarily of adults. Street gangs are groups of youth who band
together to form a semi structured organization that engages in planned
and profitable criminal behavior or organized violence against rival
street gangs. "Wanna-be" groups are clusters of youth who band together
in a loosely structured group to engage in spontaneous social activity
and exciting, impulsive criminal activity, including collective violence
against other groups of youth. The research subjects were all adults and
youth on the caseloads of corrections personnel in the Greater Vancouver
area in January 1995, as well as those who were added to their caseloads
during the following 6 months and were identified by these personnel as
being involved with gangs. The research involved reviewing and
extracting information from client files, interviews with clients who
were willing to participate (33 of the 128 subjects agreed to be
interviewed), and discussions of individual cases with probation
officers and police officers. The research found that the reasons why
individuals become involved with these organizations, gangs, and groups
are economic and ethnic marginality, material gain, the attraction of
supportive peer groups, and escape from abusive family circumstances. To
be effective, policy and program responses must recognize the
differences among organizations, gangs, and groups, as well as the
various factors that underlie initial and continued membership
“The Phantom and Threat of Organized Crime” by Petrus C. van
Duyne. Crime, Law, and Social Change, vol.24, no.4, Dec 1995.
Organized crime is often
perceived in terms of extended, hierarchical crime families
that extend not only their activities but also their authority
structures across national boundaries. However accurate such a view may
or may not have been in the United States, where it originated, evidence
from a Dutch survey of organized crime enterprises reveals a different
picture. For organized crime in northwestern Europe, it is more helpful
to think of crime markets of two kinds: those in which the goods and
services are themselves forbidden, and those in which legal goods and
services are handled in illegal ways. Case studies of the drug trade,
and of organized crime in the business realm, offer a detailed look at
these two kinds of markets. The evidence suggests that while organized
crime enterprises conduct trade across national boundaries, they do not
constitute an international authority structure. Crime entrepreneurs
constitute a challenge, not to the basic structure of society itself,
but rather a more subtle kind of challenge to basic values and morals,
particularly when criminal enterprise is linked to power at higher
levels of society.
“Chinese Transnational Organized Crime: The Fuk Ching” by James
O Finckenauer. United Nations Activities, May 2007.
The Fuk Ching emerged in
New York City in the mid-1980s, founded by a group of young Chinese from
China's Fujian Province. Many, if not all, of the founders had criminal
records in China. Fuk Ching recruitment continues among Fujianese teens.
Currently, the Fuk Ching is estimated to have approximately 35 members,
with another 20 members in prison. Experts agree that the Fuk Ching,
like other Chinese gangs, do not have the connections and sophistication
necessary to corrupt U.S. police and judges. Although Fuk Ching has some
ability to manipulate the political system through corruption in Fujian
Province with respect to their human trafficking, there is no evidence
that Fuk Ching has corrupted the political process in the United States.
Police strategies for countering Fuk Ching include informants,
undercover investigators, and electronic surveillance. Both the New York
City police and the FBI encourage extortion victims to use hot lines to
report their victimization. The Fuk Ching mainly operates extortion and
protection rackets in defined neighborhoods in New York's Chinatown,
with victims being mostly businesses. Its transnational criminal
activities consist of the smuggling of migrants across national borders
and human trafficking that includes coercion (kidnapping) and
exploitation in the destination country. Fujian Province is the primary
source area for Chinese smuggled and trafficked into the United States.
Fuk Ching members are violent, but their violence is not strategically
targeted toward the protection and expansion of their criminal
enterprises. Members tend to engage in random street violence with guns.
“A Neo-Marxist Explanation of Organized Crime” by Alfried
Schulte-Bockholt. Critical Criminology, vol.10, no.3, Oct 2001.
This essay examines the
relationship between criminal organizations and socioeconomic elites.
The argument is made that criminal organizations acquire ideological
preferences as they evolve and integrate into elite structures. This
article demonstrates the conditions under which elites turn to Fascist
parties, reactionary militaries, or organized crime groups for
assistance against counter-hegemonic groups. This analysis is based on
Marxist, Frankfurt School, and Gramscian concepts, and is augmented by
examples of alliances between elites and crime groups from Europe, Latin
America, and Asia.
“When does organized crime pay? A transaction cost analysis” by
Andrew R. Dick. International Review of Law and Economics,
vol.15, no.1 (25-45), Jan 1995.
This paper develops a
transaction cost-based theory of organized crime. Following Schelling (Journal
of Public Law 1967; 20:71–84), I treat the organized criminal firm
as a formal governance structure that specializes in providing illegal
goods and services to downstream buyers. Drawing upon Williamsonian
transaction cost analysis and the literature on self-enforcing
contracts, the paper predicts which illegal goods and services will be
supplied in the marketplace by organized criminal firms versus
internally by downstream firms. The paper highlights the joint roles of
production scale economies, contracting frequency, transaction
specificity, and uncertainty to predict the activities of organized
crime. These four factors appear capable of explaining many of the
important empirical regularities in markets where organized crime is
“Aboriginal organized crime in Canada: Developing a typology for
understanding and strategizing responses” by E.J.
Dickson-Gilmore and Chris Whitehead. Trends in Organized Crime,
vol.7, no.4, June 2002.
The present study
explores the theory and, to the greatest degree possible given the
limitations of the data, the reality of aboriginal participation in what
may be defined as ‘organized crime’ in Canada, engaging the possibility
of a definition of ‘aboriginal organized crime’ and the proposal of a
‘typology’ of participants. In the development of both the definition
and typology, the researchers build upon Beare's definition of organized
crime to include the dimension of motivations—whether social, political
or economic—which theorists agree are crucial in understanding organized
crime activities, but which do not appear in current definitions of the
term, as well as important contextual factors informing participation in
aboriginal organized crime networks.
“Gangs, gang homicides, and gang loyalty: Organized crimes or
disorganized criminals” by Scott Decker and G. David Curry.
Journal of Criminal Justice, vol.30, no.4 (343-352), July-August
Gang members contribute
disproportionately to homicide. This article examines gang homicide
during its peak in the mid-1990s in St. Louis, a city with high homicide
rates and large gang problems. The article addresses two related
questions, the differences between gang and non-gang homicides, and the
social organization of gang homicide. Marked differences between gang
and non-gang homicides were found. These differences centered primarily
on guns and the similarity of victim and offender characteristics. Gang
homicides most often occurred within gang factions rather than between
factions. Gangs were unable to organize homicides in an effective
manner, which reflected the disorganized character of gangs and the
neighborhoods in which they reside. The findings of this article raised
important questions about the cohesiveness of gangs.
“The dragon breathes fire: Chinese organized crime in New York City”
by Robert J. Kelly et al. Crime, Law and Social Change, vol.19,
no.3, April 1993.
Although it is widely
acknowledged that Chinese businesses are victims of extortion by Asian
youth gangs, there is no reliable information to examine the patterns
and social processes of the problem. This paper explores the structure
of extortion and other forms of victimization based on surveys of
(N=603) Chinese-owned businesses in three Chinatown neighborhoods in New
York City. It focuses on the nature of Chinese crime groups, social
contexts of gang extortion, social processes of victimization, and
merchants' compliance or resistance to gang demands. Finally, the paper
discusses the problems and prospects of Chinese criminality in America.
“Secret Societies and Organized Crime in Contemporary China” by
An Chen. Modern Asian Studies, vol.39 (77-107), 2005.
The emergence of criminal secret societies
in post-Mao China has closely correlated with the criminal subcultures,
massive unemployment, impoverishment, economic inequality, relative
deprivation, and political corruption that have arisen from the reform
process. Although perceived as the roots of organized crime worldwide,
these variables have generated crime incentives—mainly among
disadvantaged and marginalized social groups—far stronger in China than
in most of Western societies. The factors underlying organized crime in
China are not simply the by-products of economic liberalization, but
rather related to the structural problems caused by flawed reform
policies and China's particular political context. These problems
account to a large extent for the double nature of many criminal
organizations as both anti-social and anti-state forces. The regime's
crackdown on organized crime may hamper efforts for greater
socio-political pluralism. But in the long run, it may strengthen the
rule of law and lead to the improvement of relevant reform policies.
Gangs in the Military
“Gangs, Extremists Groups, and the Military: Screening for Service”
by Mark Flack and Marvin Wiskoff. Security Research Center, Monterey
CA. June 1998.
The purpose of this
report is to examine the feasibility of instituting or improving
measures for screening military enlistees for gang or extremist group
involvement. The report begins with an extensive review of the
literature on right-wing extremism and street gangs, with a specific
emphasis on the implications of these phenomena for the United States
Armed Forces. This review includes an in-depth discussion of three main
approaches to understanding right-wing extremism, and an examination of
actual cases of extremist activity in the military. Next, the review
considers documented and potential cases of gang activity in the
military. Throughout this review, opportunities for identifying and
screening gang members and extremists are highlighted, as are some
drawbacks and caveats regarding such screening. The second major section
of the report reviews the military's current responses to the problems
of gangs and extremism among enlisted personnel. It begins by discussing
the enlistment process, including prescreening by recruiters, aptitude
and medical screening at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPSs),
background screening during the pre-enlistment and pre-accession phases
of the enlistment process, and further enlistee observation occurring at
Recruit Training Centers (RTCs). Next, a variety of Department of
Defense (DoD) Directives and Service policies regarding active-duty
personnel are discussed. Here, particular attention is given to how such
policies have been changing in response to the rise of problems like
gang and extremist activity among military personnel and to how the
different Services have approached such problems. Finally, the
military's current efforts to research gang and extremist problems
further are examined
“Study of Navy and Marine Corps Prison Inmates Affiliated with Gangs and
Extremist Groups: Trends and Issues for Enlistment Screening” by
Kathryn Tierney. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA. March
This thesis examines
self-identified gang members and extremists incarcerated in Navy and
Marine Corps brigs and disciplinary barracks. Information was gathered
from interviews conducted with inmates. The interviews focused on
several key issues, including reasons for enlisting in the Navy and
Marine Corps; truthfulness with recruiters concerning certain illegal
activities prior to enlistment, including juvenile arrests and
convictions; the nature and severity of crimes for which members were
convicted, including links with gangs or extremist groups; and reasons
for lack of assimilation and acculturation into military service. This
thesis also provides background information on present enlistment
screening procedures, current Department of Defense policies concerning
gangs and extremist groups, and demographic data on the characteristics
of self-admitted gang members who are incarcerated in a Navy brig.
Common themes that emerged from the interviews are presented, and
selected summaries are included in an appendix. In addition, the study
examines enlistment screening procedures for identifying applicants who
have gang or extremist group affiliations, and recommends a number of
areas for farther research.
“Acts of War: Military Metaphors in Representations of Lebanese Youth
Gangs” by G. Noble and S. Poynting. Media International
Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, vol.2003, no.106
(110-123), Feb 2003.
The media representations
of the terrorist attacks of September 11 in the United States and their
aftermath bear strong similarities to the media coverage of 'Lebanese
youth gangs' over the last few years - both rely significantly on the
metaphor of war. This paper explores two media narratives about Lebanese
youth gangs which draw on this metaphor - the first deploys a simple
us/them structure which, like the dominant Western reportage of the
terrorist crisis, turns on a form of moral reduction in which the forces
of good and evil are relatively clear. The accumulated imagery of
Lebanese gangs, drugs, crime, violence and 'ethnic gang rape'
articulates a dangerous otherness of those of Arabic-speaking background
- echoed in the coverage of the terrorist 'attack on America'. This
simple narrative, however, gives way to a second, emerging narrative
about Lebanese youth gangs which also relies on the metaphor of war but
acknowledges the moral duplicity of both 'combatants' - registering the
culpability of the state and its police service but distancing 'the
ordinary Australian' from this culpability. The second narrative, like
the first, tries to recuperate a moral innocence for the 'ordinary
Australian', but in doing so underlines a crisis in Australian
“Gangs and the Military: A Survey of N=91 National Guardsmen” by
G W Knox. National Gang Crime Research Center, (1-30), 1995.
This study used an
anonymous survey questionnaire to collect data from members of a
National Guard unit on Chicago's south side. Because of the sensitive
nature of the questions about gangs and crime, no identifying variables
were included in the survey; length of service, from one to 21 years,
was the only background variable. Major findings of the study include:
(1) 76.4 percent of the respondents believed that more job opportunities
in the community might help prevent youth from joining gangs; (2) 32.2
percent believed that the National Guard should be used to stop gang
warfare; (3) 34.4 percent agreed with the idea that the armed forces
should try to recruit gang members just in case the military were to be
used in response to a situation where gang members could be involved;
(4) 95.6 percent believed that the Federal and State governments had not
done enough to try to prevent the gang problem; (5) 22.2 percent
rejected the idea that gang leaders would make good soldiers; (6) 65.2
percent felt they could with relative certainty identify gang members by
their colors, behavior or language; and (7) 10.2 percent had been a
victim of a gang crime in the past year.
“Gangs Invade the Military” by A. Valdez. Police: The Law
Enforcement Magazine, vol.21, no.7 (56-58), July 1997.
There are many instances
in which ex-gang members, gang members, and gang associates join the
armed forces to improve their lives. For the most part, almost all
succeed in adapting to the discipline and military way of life. For
others, however, the street-gang mentality is still part of the person.
These enlisted men and women continue with their gang activities on a
limited basis. Understanding that if caught they will lose their jobs,
these gang members have kept their gang membership and activities
secret. These gang members can and have recruited new members while on
base. The types of military gang crime have included murder, attempted
murder, drive-by shootings, hate crimes, vandalism, assault with a
deadly weapon, simple assault, rape, robbery, burglary, weapons
violations, and vehicle theft. Further, there have been numerous
documented instances in which active military personnel have been
involved in gang-related crimes off base. Some of these adult gang
members have access to all types of military munitions. Within the last
6 years, the military has experienced and documented an increase in the
theft of these items. Hate groups have also manifested themselves in the
military. White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups have been identified
within the military ranks. Some have been suspected of selling stolen
military weapons to local extremists.
“Female Gang Members: A Profile of Aggression and Victimization”
by Christian Molidor. Social Work, vol.41, no.3 (2516-260), May
Most gang membership
research studies males; few examine the etiology of female gang
membership. Presents themes of female gang membership gathered from
interviews with 15 young women. Examines demographic material, family
structure, initiation rites, and criminal behaviors. Explores
implications for social work practice and research.
“Female Gang Involvement” by G. David Curry. Journal of
Research in Crime and Delinquency, vol.35, no.1 (100-118) 1998.
A review of the research
literature on female gang involvement identifies three central research
themes. These are the need for a feminist perspective, changes in the
magnitude of the problem, and the degree to which membership can be a
form of liberation. A research agenda is proposed that offers examples
of how a common set of theoretical issues might guide studies of both
male and female gang behavior.
“Perceptions of Risk Factors for Female Gang Involvement among African
American and Hispanic Women” by Chanequa Walker-Barnes and Craig
Mason. Youth and Society, vol.31, no.3 (303-336), 2001.
This study examines
ethnic minority girls' perceptions of risk factors for female gang
involvement. Thirty-one female students at an alternative school in a
high-crime, urban environment were interviewed with regard to their
beliefs about why adolescents join gangs. Peer pressure was believed to
be the largest influence on female gang involvement. In addition, it was
thought that girls might turn to gangs for protection from neighborhood
crime, abusive families, and other gangs. Family characteristics linked
to gang involvement included lack of parental warmth and family
conflict. Furthermore, gangs, through their participation in illegal
activities, were viewed as providing access to excitement and
moneymaking opportunities not available through more legitimate societal
institutions. Finally, adolescents may view gang membership as a way of
obtaining respect. Implications for intervention programs and future
research are discussed.
“Female Gangs: A Focus on Research” by Joan Moore and John
Hagedorn. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, March 2001.
The proliferation of
youth gangs since 1980 has fueled the public’s fear and
magnified possible misconceptions about youth gangs. To address the
mounting concern about youth gangs, the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s)Youth Gang Series delves into many of
the key issues related to youth gangs. The series considers issues such
as gang migration, gang growth, female involvement with gangs, homicide,
drugs and violence, and the needs of communities and youth who live in
the presence of youth gangs.
“Gender Differences in Gang Participation, Delinquency, and Substance
Use” by Beth Bjerregaard and Carolyn Smith. Journal of
Quantitative Criminology, vol.9, no.4, 1993.
The purpose of this paper
is to respond to gaps in our knowledge about patterns of female gang
participation and its causes and consequences. Data from the Rochester
Youth Development Study, a panel study that over represents adolescents
at high risk for delinquency, are used to compare gang participation and
delinquent involvement of female and male adolescents. We then examine
the role of theoretical variables associated with both female and male
gang membership. The results lead us to conclude that, for females as
well as males, involvement in gangs is associated with substantially
increased levels of delinquency and substance use. There is also some
similarity in the factors associated with gang membership for both
sexes, although lack of school success emerges as a factor of particular
salience for female adolescents. The results suggest that theory and
intervention need to address the phenomenon of female gang membership as
an important component of urban youth problems.
“Girls’ Talk: The Social Representation of Aggression by Female Gang
Members” by Anne Campbell. Criminal Justice and Behavior,
vol.11, no.2, 1984
The present study
analyzes tape recorded accounts of fights given by female
members of New York street gangs to fellow members. While
such data may not be veridical, they can reveal much about
the way aggression is socially represented to peers which in
turn is likely to be constrained by gang norms about the propriety
of aggressive behavior. Frequency data indicate that fights
are not restricted to specifically female or gang member
opponents, that the majority are one-on-one encounters and
are a result of domestic and romantic disputes and matters of
individual integrity rather than gang related issues. A
principal components analysis reveals three interpretable
factors; group—personal, weapon—no weapon and victim—non
victim. The five major reasons for the physical aggression
are most clearly differentiated by a joint consideration of
Factors I and III. The importance of these factors is
discussed with reference to the social acceptability of
limiting the extent and seriousness of the encounter.
“Gender and Victimization Risk among Young Women in Gangs” by
Jody Miller. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency,
vol.35, no.4, 1998.
Research has documented
the enhancement effects of gang involvement for criminal offending, but
little attention has been given to victimization. This article examines
how gang involvement shapes young women's risks of victimization. Based
on interviews with active gang members, the author suggests that (1)
gang participation exposes youths to victimization risk and (2) it does
so in gendered ways. Young women can use gender to decrease their risk
of being harmed by rival gangs or other street participants by not
participating in "masculine" activities such as fighting and committing
crime. However, the consequence is that they are viewed as lesser
members of their gangs and may be exposed to greater risk of
victimization within their gangs. The author suggests that more research
is needed to examine whether and how gang involvement enhances youths'
exposure to victimization risk, and that researchers should maintain
recognition of the role of gender in shaping these processes.
“The organizational structure and function of La Nuestra Familia within
Colorado state correctional facilities” by Robert Koehler.
Deviant Behavior, vol.21, no.2 (155-179), March 2000.
This article addresses
the organizational structure and function of La Nuestra Familia, a
prison-based Chicano crime group (gang) that formed in California in
1968 and has gradually moved eastward across the United States and into
the Colorado prison system (Colorado Department of Corrections [DOC]). I
argue that researchers of La Nuestra Familia have misinterpreted, or
been unaware of, many of the vital functions of the organization to its
membership. I demonstrate that Familia's organizational structure
operates with a strong consensus of the Familianos (members) and that La
Nuestra Familia functions, in most situations, as a mutual aid society.
“Taking a New Look at an Old Problem”
by C H Trout. Corrections Today, vol.54, no.5 (62-66), July 1992.
The five major prison
gangs in the Federal system include the Aryan Brotherhood, known as the
most violent and racist of the gangs. Although originally formed to
promote white supremacy, most of its violence is now aimed at
maintaining gang discipline. The Mexican Mafia is the BOP's most active
gang in terms of activity frequency rather than severity. The other
three gangs of concern are the Texas Syndicate, La Nuestra Familia, and
the Black Guerrilla Family. The BOP's original strategy of identifying
and segregating gang members has become somewhat obsolete as the line
between prison gangs and street gangs blurs. As a result, the BOP is
moving toward the concept of tracking security threat groups. The
agency's policy is more dynamic, allowing for modifications to deal with
rapidly emerging gangs that may not fit the classic definition of a
prison gang. The BOP is developing security threat profiles for
offenders with histories or skills of specific security concern.
High-risk inmates are identified through the intake process, combined
with court documents, staff observations, and interagency intelligence.
The American Correctional Association (ACA) is involved in supporting
the informed security decision-making process by preparing a
well-designed gangs survey.
“Overview of the Challenge of Prison Gangs” by Stephanie Neuben.
Corrections Management Quarterly, vol.5, no.1, (1-9), winter
Prison gangs share
organizational similarities. They have a structure with one person who
is usually designated as the leader and who oversees a council of
members that makes the gang's final decisions. Like some street
counterparts, prison gangs have a creed or motto, unique symbols of
membership, and a constitution prescribing group behavior. Prison gangs
dominate the drug business, and many researchers argue prison gangs are
also responsible for most prison violence. Adverse effects of gangs on
prison quality of life have motivated correctional responses to crime,
disorder, and rule violations, and many correctional agencies have
developed policies to control prison gang-affiliated inmates. The
authors review the history of and correctional mechanisms to cope with
prison gangs. A gang suppression strategy based on segregation,
lockdowns, and transfers is described as the most common response to
prison gangs. The authors argue that, given the complexity of prison
gangs, effective prison gang intervention should include improved
strategies for community re-entry and more collaboration between
correctional agencies and university gang researchers on prison gang
management policies and practices.
“Career Criminals, Security Threat Groups, and Prison Gangs: An Interrelated
Threat” by David M. Allender and Frank Marcell. FBI Law
Enforcement Bulletin, vol.72, no.6 (8-12), June 2003.
The goal of this article
is to inform law enforcement personnel, including prison guards, about
the types of behaviors and activities that career criminals, prison
gangs, and Security Threat Groups (STGs) engage in so as to reduce the
threat posed by these three groups. The authors contend that experience
is the best teacher when it comes to understanding career criminals, and
in an effort to assist other law enforcement officers, the authors note
several characteristics of these types of criminals. Next, the authors
discuss STGs, which are defined by Federal prison officials as an
identifiable collection of inmates who pose a hazard to the penal
system. These STGs may form prison gangs that are potentially more
powerful than street gangs. Prison gangs recruit members and associates
from within the prison and also recruit street gangs to carry out
assignments. Finally, the authors discuss the ways in which criminal
justice professionals should assess and deal with STGs and prison gangs.
Generally, the approach is to assess group behavior rather than focusing
on individual members. Criminal justice professionals must always be on
guard because prison gang members constantly scrutinize guards and
officers for any signs of weakness. In conclusion, the authors assert
that a focus on the activities of career criminals, prison gangs, and
STGs will make a major impact on the reduction of the interrelated
threat posed by these three groups.
“Origins and Effects of Prison Drug Gangs in North Carolina” by
D J Stevens. Journal of Gang Research, vol.4, no.4 (23-35) summer
A study of 792 inmates at
four penitentiaries showed that local prison gangs trade in drugs
through violence and intimidation and that these gangs are linked to
juvenile detention centers, thereby limiting membership affiliation. The
study furthers a prisonization model that includes an assimilation into
the inmate normative system, and gang formation for former juvenile
training center residents. One implication of these findings is that
gang formation is fostered at juvenile detention camps through a
juvenilization process that culminates in subsequent adult
incarceration. In North Carolina prisons, offenders who have previously
been confined at a State juvenile center are more likely to band
together with others who have shared similar juvenile center
experiences. This association transcends race, religion, family and
friendship ties, and hometown values and norms. The gangs use the prison
drug trade as a form of control and power, and meet little opposition
due to legal restraints and custodial decay.
“Managing Prison Gangs and Other Security Threat Groups” by C R
Huff and M. Meyer. Corrections Management Quarterly, vol.1, no.4
(10-18), fall 1997.
Local, State, and Federal
correctional institutions are being significantly affected by the
growing number of gang-involved offenders being committed to these
institutions. The article discusses policy and procedural issues facing
corrections administrators and examines Ohio's development of threat
group management strategies. In addition, the article provides
information concerning national trends in youth gangs, the behavior of
youth gang members in juvenile correctional facilities, and California's
approach to dealing with gang-involved youthful offenders. The Ohio and
California programs have not yet been the subject of objective,
empirical evaluation, but they appear to address many of the needs and
risks of individual gang-involved offenders and have received positive
initial assessments by both participants and observers.
“The Influence of Prison Gang Affiliation on Violence and Other Prison
Misconduct” by Gerald G. Gaes et al. The Prison Journal,
vol.82, no.3 (359-385), 2002.
Most of the empirical
research and practically all of the fieldwork conducted on
gangs has been devoted to street gangs. In this article,
Bureau of Prisons automated data were used to evaluate the
contribution of prison gang affiliation to violence and other
forms of misconduct within prisons. The authors also examined
a measure of gang embeddedness to see if, similar to street gang
research, it can be shown that core members of a prison gang
were more likely to commit violent and other kinds of misconduct
than were more peripheral members. Both specific and more
generic gang indicators were related to violence and other
forms of official prison misconduct. A composite measure of
gang misconduct represents the threat that particular gangs
pose to prison order. The "threat index" is model based and
provides a graphical representation of the relative magnitude
and heterogeneity of the threat posed by different gang
“Broken Windows Behind Bars: Eradicating Prison Gangs Through Ecological
Hardening and Symbol Cleansing” by Gregory Scott. Corrections
Management Quarterly, vol.5, no.1 (23-36) winter 2001.
The article describes the
social and cultural dimensions of prison gangs conceived as adaptive
systems that organize legitimate and illegitimate developmental
resources in austere circumstances and thrive on adversarial relations
with rival gangs and with authoritarian social control agents such as
prison officials. It illustrates that relations between prison gangs,
viewed collectively, and prison administration significantly influence
the nature of social organization inside the prison. The article
describes recent gang control and "social organization enhancement"
policies designed and implemented by the Illinois Department of
Corrections, which adapted the "broken windows" theory/policy for
application in prison facilities statewide. Altering the physical
environment and the physical expressions of prison gang networks to
produce a desired change in human behavior is the major premise of the
broken windows theory as adapted for the prison setting. Non-gang
inmates feel more secure and perhaps behave accordingly and prison gang
members, in the best case, reduce the frequency of their offending. In
addition, such environmental cleanups may have the added effect of
improving the morale of prison guards, who interpret the prison's
actions as support for the work they do.
“Race and Prison Violence” by Miles D. Harer and Darrell J.
Steffensmeier. Criminology, vol.34, no.3 (323-355), August 1996.
Data from 58 male
institutions in the federal correctional system were used to test for
racial differences in both violent and alcohol/drug misconduct,
controlling for a large number of individual, prison environment, and
community background variables. Because "structurally" the in-prison
station of black and white inmates is essentially identical, the data
provide a unique methodological opportunity to test deprivation versus
importation models of prison adjustment as well as more encompassing
structural versus cultural theories of violence. The major findings are
that, net of controls, black inmates have significantly higher rates of
violent behavior but lower rates of alcohol/drug misconduct than white
inmates. These patterns parallel those of racial differences in the
larger society. We interpret these findings as supporting the
importation theory of prison adjustment and the subculture of violence
thesis regarding high rates of black violence in the larger society.
“Deadly Symbiosis: When Ghetto and Prison Meet and Mesh” by Loic
Wacquant. Punishment and Society, vol.3, no.1 (95-133), 2001.
To explain the astounding
over-representation of blacks behind bars that has driven
mass imprisonment in the United States, one must break out of
the `crime-and-punishment' paradigm to reckon the extra-penological
function of the criminal justice system as instrument for the
management of dispossessed and dishonored groups. This
article places the prison in the historical sequence of
`peculiar institutions' that have shouldered the task of
defining and confining African Americans, alongside slavery,
the Jim Crow regime, and the ghetto. The recent upsurge in
black incarceration results from the crisis of the ghetto as
device for caste control and the correlative need for a substitute
apparatus for the containment of lower-class African Americans.
In the post-Civil Rights era, the vestiges of the dark ghetto
and the expanding prison system have become linked by a triple
relationship of functional equivalency, structural homology,
and cultural fusion, spawning a carceral continuum that entraps
a population of younger black men rejected by the deregulated
wage-labor market. This carceral mesh has been solidified by
changes that have reshaped the urban `Black Belt' of mid-century
so as to make the ghetto more like a prison and undermined
the `inmate society' residing in U.S. penitentiaries in ways
that make the prison more like a ghetto. The resulting
symbiosis between ghetto and prison not only perpetuates the
socioeconomic marginality and symbolic taint of the black
subproletariat, feeding the runaway growth of the carceral
system. It also plays a pivotal role in the remaking of
`race', the redefinition of the citizenry via the production
of a racialized public culture of vilification of criminals,
and the construction of a post-Keynesian state that replaces
the social-welfare treatment of poverty by its penal
“Prison Gang Members' Tattoos as Identity Work: The Visual Communication
of Moral Careers” by Michael P. Phelan and Scott A. Hunt.
Symbolic Interaction, vol.21, no.3 (277-298) January 2008.
The purpose of this
article is to demonstrate how symbolic self-completion and moral careers
are identity work by examining prison gang tattoos. Data were derived
from one author's six-year full-member participation as a correctional
officer in the California prison system. We examine tattoos specific to
members of the Nuestra Familia, a California-based prison gang. Tattoos
make an individual's self-definition more complete by visually
communicating gang membership, status, rank, and personal
accomplishments; they reflect a person's past career accomplishments and
possible future career objectives. To analyze the moral careers
communicated by these tattoos, we identify and elaborate upon Five
distinct phases in a prison gang moral career: pre-initiate, initiate,
member, veteran, and superior. The article concludes with discussion of
the importance of incorporating symbolic self-completion into an
identity work perspective and consideration of some implications for
future research on gang tattoos in particular and identity construction
“From the Street to the Prison: Understanding and Responding to Gangs”
by Scott H Decker. National Major Gang Task Force, United States,
(1-86), 9 Feb 2001.
The discussion emphasized
gang processes, especially as those processes offered opportunities for
intervention and prevention. These processes included joining the gang,
initiation, assuming roles within the gang, participating in gang
violence, and leaving the gang. The analysis noted that the last decade
had produced an unprecedented increase in gangs, gun assaults, and youth
homicide. These increases have resulted in actions by Federal and local
governments. Suppression has been the most common strategy. However,
this response is unlikely to be effective on its own and is likely to
make the problem worse. Federal initiatives that emphasize suppression
or the provision of social opportunities have taken place in the last
decade. The Boston Gun project demonstrates that the success of any
initiative depends largely on its ability to integrate a number of
approaches. The analysis concluded that law enforcement and the
provision of social opportunities and interventions must work together
for interventions to be successful, that interventions must give closer
attention to the significance of gang processes, and that those
responsible for responding to gangs must use problem-solving models that
have proven successful in other settings. In addition, agencies need to
be proactive and not overreact and to communicate and share information
with each other.
“Prison Gangs in South Africa: A Comparative Analysis” by J.
Houston and J. Prinsloo. Journal of Gang Research, vol.5, no.3
(41-52), spring 1998.
The paper is a
preliminary investigation into the extent of gangs in South African
prisons and the scope of their influence. The study grew out of a
research and data exchange project involving an American university, a
South African university, and the South African Department of
Correctional Services. The study attempted to determine: (1) whether
gangs in South African prisons are as pervasive as in the United States;
(2) measures used by the Department of Correctional Services to control
gangs' influence; (3) the dynamics that drive South African prison
inmates to join gangs; (4) parallels, if any, between the two countries’
prison gangs; and (5) whether there are international influences that
might foster prison gang development. The paper discusses the history of
prison gangs in the United States, South African prison gangs, and the
link between juvenile crime gangs and prison gangs in South Africa.
“Prison Gang Development: A Theoretical Model” by S. Buentello,
et al. The Prison Journal, vol.71, no.2 (3-14), fall/winter 1991.
The analysis uses the
inductive method to study the Texas Department of Corrections, using
information from staff reports, inmates, inmate records, files on prison
gangs, personal observations, and interviews with prison gang members
who defected. According to the model, the development of prison gangs
involves a 5-stage process. In Stage One, a convicted offender is
sentenced to serve time in prison, thereby being separated from the
traditional support system and needing to deal with prison guards and
other inmates. In Stage Two, the inmate overcomes feelings of isolation,
fear, and danger by socializing with certain inmates and becoming part
of a clique. While some cliques disband in time due to unit transfer or
release of members, others evolve into Stage Three, self-protection
groups. As members of a self-protection group gain increased recognition
from other inmates, certain members exert stronger influence over other
members and contemplate leading the group into Stage Four, a predator
group. As members of the predator group enjoy their increased protection
and their new-found power over other inmates, they may evolve into Stage
Five, a prison gang, which requires involvement in contract murder, drug
trafficking, extortion, gambling, and homosexual prostitution. Gang
members must wear tattoos, make a lifetime commitment, and function as
part of a formal and paramilitary organizational structure. As of
December 1990, the Texas Department of Corrections had identified and
confirmed 8 prison gangs with a total membership of 1,174.
“Gangs in New Zealand Prisons” by J Meek. Australian and New
Zealand Journal of Criminology, vol.25, no.3 (255-277), Dec 1992.
The first official
recognition of the gang problem in New Zealand prisons came in 1980,
following four serious incidents at separate facilities. Surveys have
indicated that more than 20 percent of inmates had present or past gang
affiliations. A case study of the Auckland Maximum Security Prison (Paremoremo)
demonstrates how gang ascendancy destroyed a unique inmate subculture
and forced prison management to operate the facility on a unit basis.
Using a 1989 prison census, the author examines the level of gang
affiliation and compares gang members and unaffiliated inmates on
variables including ethnic origin and age, type of offense, length of
sentence, previous convictions, custodial experience, and classification
status. Gangs members were likely to be younger, requiring medium- or
maximum-security classification, convicted of violent offenses, and
serving longer sentences. The New Zealand Department of Justice has
tried to defuse tension between members of two rival gangs in prison by
appointing mediators from both gangs, responsible for maintaining
communications, providing liaison with prison management, resolving
disputes between the gangs, and informing new prisoners belonging to
either gang of the behavior expected of them.
“Right-wing Extremism in the Texas Prisons: the Rise and Fall of the
Aryan Brotherhood of Texas” by M E Pelz, et al. Prison
Journal, vol.71, no.2 (23-37), fall/winter 1991.
The more than 3,000
letters to and from ABT members from February 1984 through August 1991
provide the most extensive description of the origin, development, and
activity of ABT. The organization developed in part because of the
longstanding racial segregation in the system, the use of inmate guards,
and the rapid changes resulting from the judicial decision in Ruiz v.
Estelle that resulted in heightened racial tension, the emergence of
inmate gangs, and high levels of serious violence. Thus, ABT originated
during a period of social change in which many white inmates perceived
their status to be declining. Seeking to restore their past status,
right-wing inmates developed a moralistic and conspiratorial rhetoric
that helped them recruit less racist or extremist inmates but,
eventually proved inadequate to sustain the movement in the face of
internal controversies and external attack. Membership remained around
200 in 1987 and 1988. The intense internal power struggle attracted
additional members in 1989, but most of these members failed to remain
loyal to the group once released. Thus, like all radically right
movements, the ABT declined due to internal disorganization. It will
require a sudden increase in strain within the inmate social system to
rally its support, and pressure from the Justice Department to integrate
individual cells may provide this strain.
“From the Belly of the Beast: A White-Supremacist Prison Plot Hits the
Streets with an Unusual "Aryan" at the Helm” by Bob Moser.
Intelligence Report, issue 108 (8-17), winter 2002.
The author introduces the
reader to Leo Felton, who was recruited by members of Aryan Unit One
while he was serving time at Northern State Prison in New Jersey. The
author explains how Felton was a disturbed teenager who had several
arrests for thefts and violent offenses. Felton did not have racist
attitudes, however, until he was serving a prison sentence for a drug
offense. During this prison term, he met members of Aryan Unit One, who
harnessed his anger and violence and directed it toward minority members
and Jews. Ironically, unbeknownst to members of the Aryan Unit One,
Felton was half Black, having been born to a light-skinned Black
civil-rights activist and a white ex-nun. According to the author,
Felton played basketball with his father and five Black half-brothers
and had Black friends before going to prison for the savage beating of a
taxi driver in an apparent road-rage episode. That stint in prison led
Felton to become an active member of the racist gang and to plot the
eventual destruction of all minorities. The goal, explained Felton in a
letter, was to insight a revolution and to establish a “natural order”
on the continent. This natural order would mimic Hitler’s. The author
tells how Felton met a young woman named Erica Chase, who would
eventually move in with Felton in Boston after his release from prison.
The two plotted an Aryan terrorist attack before being arrested by
police for passing counterfeit bills. Once in prison again, the Boston
papers revealed Felton’s racial composition, leading him to attempt
suicide. The point of the story of Felton is to illustrate how racist
gangs are recruiting members from within prison walls and then sending
them out upon release to hatch their violent plots.
“Brotherwoods: The Rise and Fall of a White-Supremacist Gang Inside a
Kansas Prison” by Roger H. Bonner. Journal of Gang Research,
vol.6, no.3 (61-76) spring 1999.
The name "Brotherwoods"
is a combination of the names of two established prison gangs: the Aryan
Brotherhood, a gang of white racist extremists, and the term
"Peckerwood," which is a racist name for poor whites adopted as a gang
name for a number of white racist gangs scattered throughout the United
States. The Brotherwoods gang nucleus was established in March 1993 as a
small clique of four inmates. The founder had studied and espoused white
supremacist doctrines and was a cunning manipulator of other inmates.
His ideal candidate for recruitment was young, white, and physically
small. Since such inmates were typical prey for other inmates, the
Brotherwood leader convinced recruits that strength in numbers was the
wisest course they could pursue. The gang did come to represent a potent
threat to other inmates as well as to the staff of the correctional
facility. The first acts of violence and intimidation by the gang were
discovered in January 1995. Activities included plans to attack black
drug dealers; the claiming and defending of territory in the prison yard
and dining hall; attacks on homosexual inmates; and the establishment of
a time frame for plans to instigate a riot, take hostages, and possibly
kill correctional officers or staff members. The method of suppressing
the Brotherwood gang was simple, legal, and classical. It relied on
intelligence about the level of threat posed by the individual members
of the gang. Leaders of the gang were identified, separated, and
segregated from the main membership base of the gang. The remaining
members of the gang were then dispersed throughout the State by
transfers to other institutions. Lessons learned from dealing with this
gang are outlined.
“Prison Gang Research: Preliminary Findings in Eastern North Carolina”
by M S Jackson and E G Sharpe. Journal of Gang Research, vol.5,
no.1 (1-8), fall 1997.
Data were collected via a
questionnaire submitted to 1,000 inmates. Of the 871 inmates who
returned usable responses, 223 (24 percent) reported gang membership.
The study disclosed that nationally known gang sets were appearing in
Eastern North Carolina prisons, and their agendas differ from
traditional southern local gangs. Their focus exceeds racial hatred
parameters and extends to violence not only against authority figures
but also against each other. Their activities were limited and had not
reached the level of violence noted in certain other States, e.g.,
California. Although physical fights occurred, they did not to any
significant extent involve rival gang issues. Findings of the study may
be useful in training corrections administrators and staff on the nature
and scope of the prison gang problem, and in implementing a gang
“Prison Gangs: The North Carolina Experience; A Summary of the Findings”
by Barbara H. Zaitzow and James G. Houston. Journal of Gang Research,
vol.6, no.3 (23-32), spring 1999.
he data for the study
were collected as part of a larger national survey of gang members who
are residing in a variety of institutional settings. The types of
facilities that were surveyed in North Carolina included adult and youth
facilities under the jurisdiction of the Division of Prisons within the
Department of Correction, which ranged in security levels from minimum
to maximum security. Twenty-nine facilities in North Carolina were
included in the study. A total State sample of 1,706 included 462 (27
percent) who reported having joined a gang; 1,160 (68 percent) who
reported having never joined a gang; and 84 (5 percent) for which data
on this self-report item were missing. The findings reported in this
article are based on the responses of the 462 self-proclaimed gang
members. The six-part survey instrument consisted primarily of
closed-ended questions that tapped the sociodemographic characteristics
of the sample, crime-related items, and several items that assessed
gang-related issues within and outside the prison setting. Based on the
findings, the study concludes that the North Carolina Division of
Prisons is in the early phase of gang infiltration. As yet, inmate gangs
have not altered the fabric of prison life to a great extent. A little
less than half of the gang members reported that they had not been in a
fight since they were incarcerated. Thirty-four percent admitted to
carrying a weapon, and nearly 30 percent have threatened staff; 25
percent of the gang sample have tried to smuggle drugs while
incarcerated. The article outlines several areas where continued
attention is needed to address the emerging gang problem.
“Gang Profile: The Latin Kings” by G W Knox and T F McCurrie.
Journal of Gang Research, vol.4, no.1 (43-72), fall 1996.
The primary source of
information for this report was from cooperative gang members. Many
"secret" internal documents of the Latin Kings, both from the Chicago
original and the east coast version, were also obtained. This paper
provides information on the genesis of the Latin Kings, its symbols, the
chapter infrastructure, a statistical profile of the typical Latin King
members, the female auxiliary unit, gang allies and enemies, financial
records, and threat rating. The overall threat rating notes that the
Latin Kings are a Level Three gang organization; the gang is a
centralized, authoritarian, violent formal organization complete with a
written constitution and by-laws. In taking advantage of political
corruption, the gang fits the more classic pattern of organized crime.
The size of the gang and its penetration of communities outside of its
epicenter, along with its propensity for violence, qualify it for an "8"
on a 10-point scale of threat severity. The authors advise that Federal
prosecution is needed to remove Latin King leaders from the Illinois
prisons, where they are still able to administer their gang from behind
bars. The Illinois State prison system currently lacks the capability to
deal with such hard-core gang leaders who know how to use their "inmate
rights" to continue to administer their gang even while incarcerated.
Appended transcription of the internal records of the Albany Park
Chapter of the Latin Kings for a 6-month period in 1990.
“Street Youths, Bosozoku, and Yakuza: Subculture Formation and Societal
Reactions in Japan” by Joachim Kersten. Crime and Delinquency,
vol.39, no.3 (277-295), 1993.
A number of Western
assumptions about Japanese crime control are based on notions of a
specific Japanese "shame culture" and/or a causal relationship between
the policing system and low crime rates in Japan. According to these
views, subcultures ought to be of minimal significance in Japan. In
contrast to such beliefs, this article describes the size and the
characteristics of subcultural formations, such as groupings of street
youths, bosozoku (hot-rodder) groups, and yakuza (networks of male adult
criminal organizations), as numerically significant and culturally
visible phenomena. In a comparative perspective, features of Japanese
subcultural groupings are interpreted in their relation to masculinity
and to culture-specific problems of contemporary Japanese society.
“The Changing Face of the Yakuza” by Peter Hill. Global Crime,
vol.6, no.1 (97-116), Feb 2004.
Over the last half
century, Japan has undergone considerable political, economic and social
change. In response to these changes, Japan's criminal organisations,
collectively known as yakuza, have themselves rapidly adapted. This
chapter explores these developments. The two main factors driving the
yakuza's historical development are first, changing market opportunities
and secondly, vagaries in the legal and law-enforcement environment in
which these groups operate. During the last decade these two factors
have had a serious impact on the yakuza fortunes; the 1992 bōryokudan
(yakuza) countermeasures law and Japan's protracted economic woes
following the collapse of the bubble economy in 1990 have made their
lives considerably harder. Since then, legal and social developments
have further undermined these groups. While the yakuza have attempted to
reduce the impact of these developments by adopting a lower profile and
strengthening the mechanisms by which inter-syndicate disputes are
resolved peacefully, there is inevitably a tension here with their
members' needs to make money. The continued existence of illegal
markets, and the lack of political will to seriously tackle these
groups, makes the survival of these groups a certainty. However, the
space within which they can operate has diminished and is diminishing.
“Crime, Crime Control and the Yakuza in Contemporary Japan” by K
Maguire. Criminologist, vol.21, no.3 (131-141), autumn 1997.
The Western interest in
Japanese management techniques has been mirrored by an interest in their
policies on crime control and criminal justice management. Their levels
of crime are much lower, detection and conviction rates are much higher
and there is much less fear of crime among the general public. Japanese
police are highly respected; theirs is a job with status and is regarded
as a life-long career. While crime rates in Japan are generally lower
than in the West, organized crime is a much more serious problem. Yakuza
organizations are involved in loan-sharking and drugs, but also have
front companies through which they operate legitimate businesses. The
Yakuza keep petty criminals in line, but Yakuza presence and influence
in the corporate world and in politics leads to serious problems of
“Heisei Yakuza: Burst Bubble and Botaiho” by Peter Hill. Social
Science Japan Journal, issue 6 (1-18), 2003.
This paper explores
developments in the business activities of the yakuza/boryokudan
(Japan's organized crime syndicates) following the end of the Showa
period in 1989. Since then, the yakuza have had to contend with two
events which have had profound effects on their economic environment:
the collapse of Japan's bubble economy right at the beginning of the new
era, and the introduction of the boryokudan countermeasures law (Botaiho)
in 1992. Whilst post-bubble economic stagnation has deprived the yakuza
of many lucrative opportunities, it has compensated them with others.
The Botaiho, by imposing new restrictions on formerly legal yakuza
activities, made these sources of income more costly and thereby
similarly forced gang-members to develop new sources of income. In
particular, amphetamine dealing and organized theft rings have grown in
response to the ‘double punch’ of the bubble and the Botaiho. The paper
concludes by suggesting that the continuing economic hardship faced by
the yakuza is weakening the intra- and inter-organizational mechanisms
by which they have tried to stabilize their world.
“Yakuza? Organized Crime in Japan” by Ko Shikata. Journal of
Money Laundering Control, vol.9, no.4 (416-421), 2006.
The purpose of this paper
is to introduce some facts about Yakuza and countermeasures by the
Japanese police. This paper provides some statistics and descriptive
explanation about Yakuza and countermeasures by the Japanese police. In
Japan, there are more than 80,000 regular or associate Yakuza gang
members. Yakuza groups are changing their styles and behaviors and
adjusting to a changing society. The Japanese government has been
tackling organized crime. The two main measures against organized crime
are new legislations and strategic investigation.
“Chinese Triads and Japanese Yakuza - How Dangerous Is the Asian Mafia?”
by R Harnischmacher. EuroCriminology, vol.11 (163-181), 1997.
Chinese Triads consist of
two different groups, individuals who avoid violence and individuals who
unconditionally seek recognition and financial success. Triads are
involved in drug smuggling out of the Golden Triangle and have generated
substantial funds from the drug business. Japanese Yakuza groups are
organized so that all power is concentrated on the Oyabun or boss.
Criminal activities of the Yakuza include illegal gambling, extortion,
smuggling, manipulation of betting, prostitution, and drug trafficking.
Asian Mafia groups are increasingly becoming involved in legal
businesses in order to conceal profits from illegal activities. Asian
criminality is difficult to investigate, particularly because Chinese
and Japanese communities are very closed. The importance of Hong Kong in
Asian Mafia operations and the need for international cooperation in
organized crime prevention are discussed.
“Japan: Yakuza and Economic Crime in the USA” by Nadim Karim.
Journal of Financial Crime, vol.7, no.4. (368-372), 2000.
The debate on taking ‘the
profit out of crime’ in most countries has been linked to an increasing
recognition of the threat to national and international stability
represented by organised crime groups. These groups, in so far as their
goal is financial gain, are businesses and are therefore often
structurally and operationally able to take full advantage of services
provided by other groups or on occasion work with such through an
associated or integrated strategy. One of the most lethal organised
crime groups in this respect are the Yakuza, or ‘Boryukudan’. The sum
total of their criminal activity produces an annual yield of countless
millions through various ‘activities’ including money laundering and
corporate blackmail. The majority of these activities are carried out by
centralised organisations capable of operating through a host of
jurisdictions. It has become quite evident, particularly with respect to
the last 15 years, that the Yakuza have been able to obtain a powerful
‘stranglehold’ over the economic sectors in several different countries.
It will be the purpose of this paper, therefore, to analyse the severity
of this impact with particular respect to the situation in the USA and
Japan. With the advent of an ever diversifying global marketplace, the
opportunities seem endless. And the ‘nightmare’ for law enforcement
agencies has just begun.
“Yakuza (Criminal Gangs): Characteristics and Management in Prison”
by E H Johnson. Criminal Justice International, vol.7, no.1
(11-18), Jan/Feb 1991.
The nature and operations
of Japanese gangsters conform to the concept of organized crime.
However, their specific organizational structure and subculture is
definitively Japanese. Revision of laws regarding drug trafficking,
illegal gambling, prostitution, and extortion as well as increased
police campaigns has led to increased imprisonment of the Japanese
gangsters. Their population has increased from 21 percent in 1975 to 30
percent in 1986. The approach of the Corrections Bureau toward inmate
management relies on basic Japanese values and encourages offenders to
abandon criminality. In contrast to this philosophy, the Yakuza are
committed to a criminal subculture, demonstrate loyalty to their gangs,
and exhibit a criminal orientation. For this reason, Yakuza inmates are
assigned to security prison where they are managed through
Japanese-style control methods that promote internal orderliness.
“Mafias, Triads, Yakuza and Cartels: A Comparative Study of Organized
Crime” by Andre Bossard. Crime and Justice International,
vol.14, no.23 (5-32), Dec 1998.
he author describes
Mafia-type criminal organizations throughout the world, identifying the
names, organization, and criminal activities of such enterprises in
Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Africa. All of the
identified organized crime groups have common characteristics. The most
highly structured ones are based on an enterprise-like organization that
corresponds to a basic organizational chart that is valid for any sort
of business. Organized crime groups can survive only if they manage that
chart in such a manner as to ensure strong discipline and absolute
secrecy. These groups are obsessed with profit by every means, using
terror and corruption to achieve their goals. They conduct not only
criminal activities but licit businesses, infiltrating and controlling
economic sectors. They attempt to influence and corrupt legitimate
economic and political power at all levels, thus posing a threat to
democracy by perverting economics and politics for their own ends. The
enormous amount of money they obtain from both their illicit and licit
activities make them an actual and potential threat not only in
individual nations but internationally. Common criminal activities are
in three categories: (1) racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, coercive
protection, and debt-collecting; (2) illicit service provision,
consisting of freely and expensively providing anything usually
prohibited, regulated, or taxed by law (drugs, smuggling, gambling,
usury, prostitution, pornography, migrants, and manpower); (3) and
financial crime, counterfeiting, fraud, and computer crime.
“From Religious Cult to Criminal Gang: The Evolution of Chinese Triads
(Part 1)” by Hua-Lun Huang and John Zheng Wang. Journal of
Gang Research, vol.9, no.4 (25-32), summer 2002.
The authors provide a
description of the historical development of the Triads in response to
past articles which have failed to distinguish between the Triads,
Chinese street gangs, and Chinese organized crime groups. The Chinese
Triads have been linked to transnational organized crime activities such
as human trafficking and drug trafficking. This paper is the first in a
three part series. This portion of the series explores the historical
foundations of the Triads. The second article will discuss the
differences between the Triads, Chinese street gangs, and Chinese
organized crime groups. The third will provide the authors’ suggestion
for a theoretical framework for understanding the Triads. The various
evolutionary phases of the Triads are explored beginning with the
development of secret societies based upon Daoism. The religious
development of those groups are discussed. The second identified phase
of Triad development is the Green Gang period during the late 17th and
early 18th centuries. According to the authors, the Green Gang
development period begins the transition to an organized criminal
“Comparison of Cults and Gangs: Dimensions of Coercive Power and
Malevolent Authority” by George W. Knox. Journal of Gang
Research, vol.6, no.4 (1-39), summer 1999.
Groups regarded as
"cults" have much in common with groups regarded as "gangs" in modern
American society. They are similar in that both groups restrict members'
exercise of freedom in thought and belief; both demand unquestioning
obedience from their members; both have self-appointed authoritarian
leaders; and once persons join both types of groups, they tend to
undergo certain predictable personality changes. Cults, like gangs, fall
in the realm of deviance, and both types of groups encourage members to
become situationally dependent on the "group identity." Both gangs and
cults recruit members based on the human need to be accepted and be a
part of a group that will affirm personal significance. The primary
difference between cults and gangs is that cults have as their axial
principle of organization some spiritual/religious/ideological belief
system; gangs, on the other hand, are commonly perceived to have no such
well-developed belief system. Further, gangs are more sinister in terms
of the use of violence against their own members and those outside the
gang. Disobedience in a cult occasions much less severe discipline, and
violence against non-cult members is not common behavior for cult
“Satanic/Occult Dabblers in the Correctional Offender Population” by
George W. Knox and Curtis J. Robinson. American Jails, vol.13, no.6
(28-40), Jan/Feb 2000.
Only a small aspect of
the study examined the issue of Satanic/Occult dabbling. The survey,
which was conducted by the National Gang Crime Research Center,
contained three questions that measured some aspect of Satanic cult
practices. One question asked whether the respondent had "ever
participated in any Satanic worship ceremonies"; the second question
asked if the respondent had ever "dabbled in black magic or the occult";
and the third question asked if the respondent had "ever participated in
a cone of power Satanic ceremony." Six percent (n=110) of the
respondents reported that they had participated in a Satanic worship
service. Only 10.1 percent reported having dabbled in black magic or the
occult; only 2.9 percent reported that they had ever participated in a
real Satanic cult ceremony. The survey found that Devil worshippers and
dabblers in the occult were more likely to be involved in gangs, as were
dabblers in black magic. Two-thirds of those involved in the more
serious side of Devil worship and the occult have joined a gang. The
Satanic/Occult dabbler had higher incestuous sexual relationships, a
higher likelihood of forcing someone else to have sex with them, and
higher likelihood of being a victim of forcible sex. Involvement in
methamphetamine use and sales, as well as fighting and weapons carrying
while in custody were also factors significantly associated with
“Cults as Gangs” by Mary Lynn Cantrell. Journal of Emotional
and Behavioral Problems, vol.1, no.1 (21-22), spring 1992.
Considers cults as
gangs, but also distinguishes cults from gangs by the cult's reference
to and insistence on allegiance to single higher authority, usually
spirit figure or spiritual leader. Examines Satanism, identifies Satanic
holidays and symbols, and describes characteristics of cult-influenced
youth. Includes list of organizations and books for further reference.
“Adolescence Attraction to Cults” by Eagan Hunter.
Adolescence, vol.33, 1998..
This article details the
reasons behind adolescents' attraction to cults. It is recommended that
parents, teachers, and counselors familiarize themselves with the
warning signs. Suggestions are offered on how to make adolescents less
vulnerable to cult overtures.