Understanding Prison Gang Members' Behavior: A Test of Gang and Non-Gang Related Misconduct and Victimization



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Prison gang members are believed to have higher level of in-prison misconduct and victimization than non-gang inmates. However, it is quite unknown whether prison gang membership has a different effect on gang and non-gang related misconduct and victimization. Adopting selection, facilitation, and enhancement models that were proposed to explain the relationship between street gang membership and offending/victimization into prison settings, the current dissertation explores the relationship between prison gang membership and gang and non-gang related misconduct and victimization separately, using cross-sectional self-reported data of an inmate sample. The findings indicate that prison gang membership is positively associated with the overall measure of violent misconduct, nonviolent misconduct, illicit sale, and violent victimization. After separating into gang and non-gang related misconduct/victimization, prison gang membership is positively related to each gang and non-gang related item, except for non-gang related nonviolent misconduct. Three main points are discussed, including the violent and profit-oriented nature of prison gang activities, gang and non-gang related misconduct and victimization, and use of self-reported membership and misconduct/victimization data. Theoretical and policy implications are also discussed.



Prison gang, Misconduct, Victimization