Womens Prisons Gangs, Recruitment, Violence Before and During Prison Sentences, and Psychological Dysfunction and Disorders of Female Gang Members

Due to the sudden increase in female convictions and prison sentences, it must be determined if there is a correlation between the crimes that lead to prison sentences and gang affiliations.  It must also be determined if gang membership post-conviction is due to a psychological dysfunction or disorder among female gang members.  Women entering prison as non-gang members but who later join a gang while incarcerated must be examined for psychological disorders, just as females who are already gang members when they enter a prison.  Commonalities between pre-prison gang affiliation and post-conviction gang membership must be scrutinized to determine the rationale for joining a gang.
This study should focus on womens prisons in the United States on only the state level, excluding federal prisons.  The existence of gangs within a womens prison must be validated, and the names of the gangs must be discovered.  It must also be determined as to why women are being sentenced to prison at such a high rate and if it is due to gang affiliations.  It should be known if any of these women were gang members before entering prison, and if so, what gang were they a member of.  A final question relating to gang membership that must be answered is how and if a female gang member can leave the group, and if so, how.
There needs to be sufficient detail concerning gangs in womens prisons as there has been a great influx of crime being committed by women.  The cause of women becoming criminally violent must be addressed.  Other areas of concern need addressing as well such as what happens to the children of these women once they are incarcerated  How do the families survive once the woman is locked up  What if a woman is pregnant or finds out that she is pregnant once she is incarcerated  Is there any evidence of mental instability or mental disorder  What is the womans general physical health  What level of education did the woman achieve before entering prison  What is the likelihood of the female inmates children following in the gang-related footsteps of their mothers  There seems to exist a cognitive behavioral imbalance in women who join or are already members of gangs within a prison.  This psychological dysfunction and disorder is demonstrative through acts of violence and judicial convictions.  Personality disorders are a given, but are these psychological disorders comorbid to other more serious mental disorders

There seems to be no true evidence of the existence of gangs within a womens prison, yet correctional officers claim that they do exist.  Womens prisons are not near on the same scale as a mens prison in respect of gang related activity, but from a racial and ethnic standpoint, there is a subconscious segregation that is indicative of gang-type behavior.  Mark Potak, editor and writer, for the Intelligence Report, conducted an interview with a male prison gang member in the Winter of 2002 (Potak, 2002).  The article explains why prison inmates join gangs, and he speaks of female inmates and their gang affiliations.  Saxena, writer for Associated Content, argues the fact that female inmates are generally more docile and non-violent (Saxena, 2010).  She speaks of female inmates acting more like families than gangs.  Two other journal articles are cited for documenting the existence of gangs within womens prisons.  The first comes from the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, and the second comes from the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture (Steiner  Wooldredge, 2009 Clowers, 2001).

Method and Design
There is not much in the way of evidence provided since not much research has ever been done on this particular topic.  Thorough research would need to be performed to find any concrete evidence from research past coupled with present research in order to view the increases in violence, women entering the prison system, and gang relation.  A twenty question survey will be sent out one womens prison in each of the fifty states.  Each prison will be asked to have 50 women of their choosing, to fill out the questionnaire.  A pre-paid manila envelope will be included as so the prison is not left incurring the postage costs.  A cover letter will accompany the questionnaire with regard to the reason for the questionnaire, why it is important, and what college the student is affiliated with conducting the research.  This research is important because gang activity and existence has been overlooked and forgotten about.  It is fundamental to the true rehabilitation of the women in prison to have a program designed to help them and deter them from becoming gang related or gang members.  The questionnaire would include questions about gang affiliation, prior criminal behavior in relation to gang membership, economic status pre-prison, family life growing up, sexual abuse, and other questions that would provide answers in many different areas.

This information is tantamount to the future of womens rehabilitation in the prison system.  Programs could be devised as a result of this research that would deter and help female gang members to leave that life in the past and look towards a happier future without crime.  If evidence of mental instability or mental disorder is present, then these reasons and causes should be formally addressed as these individuals are more vulnerable to becoming gang members due to a mental defect.  There is barely any research available on this topic.  There is much to offer in the way of researching a mens prison, but a womens prison is almost obsolete.  It is an ironic fact that the rate of women entering the prison system for serious and violent acts of crime is rising faster than that of their counterparts.  Research on this topic is inevitable in order to conduct the job as responsible citizens.  How can society expect these women to come out of prison reformed, when such a serious and life-threatening issue is being overlooked

This project is estimated to take approximately six-months to complete, depending on the efficiency and cooperation of the womens prisons returning the questionnaires in a timely fashion.

This project can be conducted for less than 300.00.  The only items needed are one pack copier paper, two printer cartridges, manila envelopes, and postage.  The initial mailings to each womens prison will be done via certified mail with a return receipt.  The return of the questionnaires will be done by regular first-class mail.  The results will be documented on an Excel computer program and backed up onto a disc.


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