Prison Gangs Keep Tight Rein on Members

Inmates at Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit.

hide captionInmates in Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit. Those who defect from gangs can qualify for transfer to other prisons with special facilities for gang dropouts.

California Department of Corrections

Supermax prisons are places of stark isolation, where some of the most dangerous convicts are housed. At Pelican Bay prison in California, the men in the Supermax are locked in windowless cells for 22 or 23 hours a day, with almost no direct contact with other inmates or staff. Officials say most of them are members of prison gangs.

Despite the isolation, gangs remain active at Pelican Bay. And once a prisoner is in a gang, it's tough to get out. It's also dangerous. Michael Montgomery of American RadioWorks reports that at Pelican Bay, gang members are made to choose between staying in lockdown or betraying their gang.

More from American RadioWorks

Related NPR Stories

Web Resources

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: