The Effects of Gang Membership on Inmate Misconduct

Marie L. Griffin, Arizona State University West
John R. Hepburn, Arizona State University
Dennis J. Palumbo, Arizona State University

ABSTRACT
The growing prevalence of street gang members within state prisons and of inmates who belong to prison gangs are widely believed to contribute disproportionately to the level of disciplinary infractions. This study examines the nature and frequency of disciplinary infractions for the first 36 months following commitment from court among a sample of 2,188 male inmates who were confined for at least three years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Multiple regression analyses indicate that the effects of gang membership on disciplinary reports for both violent and non-violent offenses are independent of the effects of age, ethnicity, prior commitments, offense type, sentence length or institutional risk score. These findings are discussed in terms of the extant research and current management policies regarding prison gangs.

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Updated 05/20/2006