Prison sucks. Among the bad food, isolation and withdrawal from society, there lies another danger: gangs. New convicts would be prudent to join a group in order to survive. Prison gangs are structured with an army-like hierarchy, and recruit using force or the promise of protection and money. But beware, for once you check in, you can never leave. Click ahead to learn about 10 of the most notorious prison gangs.
According to prisonoffenders.com, the gang was founded in Los Angeles in 1969. Originally called the Cribs, it evolved into “crips,” as in “cripple,” since it was common for Crip members to walk with a limp. The gang wears the color blue and uses the hand gesture in a letter “C.” It’s one of the largest gangs and has hundreds of subgroups.
Founded in San Quentin in 1967 to provide protection for white inmates, the gang makes up one percent of the prison population but is responsible for at least 26 percent of murders in U.S. prisons. Known as “blood in, blood out, “ in order to join, one has to kill or assault another prisoner. Anyone who tries to leave is assaulted or murdered by a member. Their tattoos are a shamrock, the letters AB, or three sixes. Nicknames include Alice Baker, Tip & Brand, and the Brand.
According to gangpreventionservices.com, the “United Blood Nation,” or Bloods, was formed in California during the 1980s. However, some members on the east coast in 1993 formed their own gang with the original United Blood Nation idea. Members wear the color red, and use hand gestures spelling the letter “B.” The FBI classified them as one of the nation’s most hazardous gangs. As recent as May 2012, 27 members were arrested on charges of racketeering and murder conspiracy.
Black Guerilla Family
Founded in 1966 by George Jackson in California, the gang was established in order to maintain black dignity in prison as well as to overthrow the U.S. government. It is one of the most political gangs and leans toward Marxism. To join, you must be black and nominated by an existing member. Tattoos sometimes include the number 276 to represent the second, seventh and sixth letters of the alphabet: BGF.
The Mexican Mafia, aka “La eMe” (Spanish for the letter “M”), started in the 1950s in Tracy, California. Close to the Aryan Brotherhood, La eMe has many contracts with ally gangs in order to kill other gang members from rivals. A few of their rules: don’t expose the gang, no homosexual acts, no cowardice and don’t disrespect a fellow gang member. Like tithing, after getting out of prison, members are expected to send earnings to lead gang members still in jail. Tattoos include the national symbol of Mexico – the eagle and snake, and the letter “M”.
La Nuestra Familia
A Mexican American gang founded in Northern California in 1968, it’s a rival to the Mexican Mafia. It was formed to preserve the Chicano culture and requires a two-year period to join. Some theorize it was created just to diminish the Mexican Mafia. Interestingly enough, it actually has a written constitution. Members wear red bandanas and use the number 14, as the letter “N” is the 14th letter of the alphabet.
Otherwise known as the Texas 7, it was created for self-protection in the 1970s in (ironically) California. The gang is made up of mainly Mexican immigrants known as “border brothers,” not Mexican-Americans. Known for contract murder, gambling, and prostitution, members who are released or paroled have to surrender a ten percent tax (“the dime”) of all proceeds toward the gang in prison.
Also known as MS-13, the gang was formed in Los Angeles and is mainly made up of Central Americans. It was formed in the 1980s to protect immigrants against other rival gangs and has spread throughout North America and even into Europe. Members are known for tattoos covering their body and sometimes face. The gang is ruthless in hunting down and killing anyone who speaks to law enforcement; and is known for its extremely violent crimes, especially against innocents.
Originating in Texas in 1990, the Barrio Azteca gang has become one of the most violent prison gangs in Texas. While not known for using a specific tattoo, they often use an Aztec Indian head. According to gangsorus.com, a tattoo with one feather signifies the rank of lieutenant and two feathers, the rank of captain. The gang was classified as a national security threat after drug violence in 2010 in Juarez, Mexico.
Next: Hilarious Pics of People Getting Scared
Established in 1970 in Puerto Rico and since spread to the United States, the gang uses a “facade of cultural organization and see themselves as oppressed people unwilling to be governed by the Unites States” (GangsOrUs.com). According to the Florida Department of Corrections, the gang often displays a Puerto Rican flag and even carries a Neta identification card. Strange.