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Analyzing Strategies for Prison Gang Management

Aug 3, 2023 | 0 comments

Aug 3, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


This paper is going to critique two journal articles about the management of prison gangs. The first article is by Donald Specter, titled Making Prisons Safe: Strategies for Reducing Violence, 22 Wash. U. J. L. & Poly 125 (2006). The issues discussed in this article are the causes of violence in prisons the strategies that have been put in place to reduce it. The author’s approach to this issue is to highlight the programs designed to eliminate violence and how successful they are so far.

The second article is written by Winterdyk John and Ruddel Rick, titled Managing Prison Gangs, results from a survey of the U.S Prison System. It is a journal of criminal justice published in the year 2010. The pages criticized are from 730 to 736. The issues discussed in this article are the effects of the gangs in correctional systems and the strategies put in place to manage the problem. The author’s approach and the methods used to obtain results for discussion was by conducting a survey and obtaining data by the use of questionnaires.

The critiquing of both papers is going to be based on the quality of each article and the validity of the results obtained.


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Articles summary

In the article by Specter, the introduction explains the need to focus on what leads to violence in the correctional facilities. When it comes to the causes of the violence it highlights that conditions and the state of operations in the institution are the leading cause of the violence being witnessed. The treatments prisoners receive from the guards highly promote the prisoners’ aggressive nature. In the strategies section, the article discusses controlling the use of force to prevent abuse. Specter goes further and explains that improving the conditions in the facility will play a great role in managing violence. The introduction of programs for integration promotion by setting expectations and orienting the prisoners on how to meet them is one of the effective strategies. In its conclusion, the article points out that violence is not sorely caused by prisoners but by the culture and management. The main focus should not be on the prisoners but the institution as a whole.

In John’s and Rick’s article, the abstract gives a clear overall discussion of the issue at hand. The introduction gives the demography of the previous surveys conducted and the current population in the correctional facilities. On the impacts of the security threat gangs, it causes fear on other inmates as well as causing deaths; it also promotes the use of drugs and radicalizing within the facilities. It further undermines the programs that deal with the issue and poses a risk for public safety. The strategies put in place to manage the issue include managing inmate communication by information sharing. Prosecution and isolation of the members were also done to minimize influence. The data collection process by the use of questionnaires was done in all U.S prison systems. The results reported the increase of gangs recently and have become more challenging for prison staff. Also, the attacks on officers are high but the good news is that the program put in place is effective. In the discussions and conclusions, it is known that some members of the gangs stay in the groups even when they return to the community. It has been observed that even when the rehabilitation services were introduced the inmates do not use them. The isolation program poses a risk to community safety because their social and interpersonal skills decrease as they return to the community.


In Specter’s article, the abstract Is missing, and the introduction summarizes the whole article, the causes of violence are clear and detailed however the author did not discuss much on the programs in place to manage violence but gave suggestions on what can be done. The author emphasized the causes and steps to be taken. The article has relevant examples of the discussed issue that are gathered from different correctional facilities around the country.

The abstract is clear and specific. The introduction also has clear information on the purpose of the article. However, some of the discussions on the impact of the security threat groups seem irrelevant. The strategies of managing violence have been well covered compared to the other article. What is not clear is the actual questions included in the questionnaires during the survey. There is also a contradiction in the results given and the conclusions drawn. The discussions are however well covered.


In my conclusion according to the methodology used the Johns and ricks articles are more valid because the data collection method has been well explained and illustrated inform of tables. However, when it comes to facts and interpretation of the issue both articles have detailed information. From the conclusions of both articles, it is clear that the problems faced in the correctional system are the same across the U.S. and the programs put in place should be revisited for more effective strategies. My perception of the correctional management issues matches that portrayed by both articles.


Donald Specter, Making Prisons Safe: Strategies for Reducing Violence, 22 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y 125 (2006), http://openscholarship.wustl.edu/law_journal_law_policy/vol22/iss1/10

Winterdyk, J., & Ruddell, R. (2010). Managing prison gangs: Results from a survey of U.S. prison systems. Journal of Criminal Justice38(4), 730-736. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2010.04.047

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