Prison gangs: Re-examining their existence, reframing their function

Ireland, Jane Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5117-5930, Birch, Philip, Henrich, Soren orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4792-8725, Lewis, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5567-3569 and Ireland, Carol Ann orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7310-2903 (2020) Prison gangs: Re-examining their existence, reframing their function. In: The Handbook of Collective Violence: Current Developments and Understanding. Routledge. ISBN 9780367186524

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This chapter considers prison gangs by outlining definitional challenges that concern this social phenomenon before examining the importance of accounting for the specifics of prison environments. As a consequence, the chapter presents a social eco-system approach to understanding prison gangs, and in doing so, accounts for theories of importation, strain and deprivation, incorporating these into a proposed Gang Social-Ecosystem Model (G-SEM). Adopting the core principles of such theories, consideration is given to both ‘pull’ and ‘push’ variables and how these may apply to the G-SEM. In conclusion, the chapter draws to a close by challenging the more pejorative approach to defining and understanding gangs, particularly in prisons.

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