Into The Abyss:
A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs

by Mike Carlie, Ph.D.        
© 2002
Michael K. Carlie
Continually updated.

~ Table of Contents ~
Home | Foreword | Preface | Orientation

What I Learned | Conclusions
End Note |
| Appendix
Site Map / Contents
| New Research

Up-To-Date Gang-Related News


Copyright Note:
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 below.

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.



Motorcycle Gangs

“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:|

"Dr. Carlie,

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 no consequence.

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:"

Note from 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). 2006.

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, 2005.

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), winter 2004.

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 1998.

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 Canada.

“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 the organization.

“Motorcycle Gangs: The New Face of Organized Crime” by Edward J. McDermott. Journal of Gang Research, vol.13, no.2 (27-36), winter 2006.

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.


Hate/Ideological 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), summer 2002.

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 protections.

“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), 2007.

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 radicalized ideologies.

“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). 1995.

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.

White Boys to Terrorist Men: Target Recruitment of Nazi Skinheads” by Randy Blazak. American Behavioral Scientist, vol.44, no.6 (982-1000), 2001.

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 1998.

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 2002.

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.


Drug Cartels

“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, 2002.

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 systems.

“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 Colombia.

“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 Science, 2002.

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 (323-344), 1994.

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 organizational structure.

“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, 1998.

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 groups.

“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 are offered.

“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 2000.

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 enforcement.

“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 ldquofamiliesrdquo 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 present.

“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 2002.

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 1998.

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 multiculturalism.

“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 Gangs

“Female Gang Members: A Profile of Aggression and Victimization” by Christian Molidor.  Social Work, vol.41, no.3 (2516-260), May 1996.

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.


Prison Gangs

“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 2001.

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 1997.

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 affiliations.

“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 management.

“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 more generally.

“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 classification system.

“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 corruption.

“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.


Satanic/Cult Gangs

“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 enterprise.

“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 members.

“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 Satanic/Occult dabblers.

“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.