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The scope of this article is to shed light on the most powerful and well-organized criminal organization inside correctional institutions, the Mexican Mafia. For over 40 years the Mexican Mafia has been involved in criminal activities (e.g., extortion, drug trafficking, murder, and contract assassinations) both in and outside California prisons. For example, the Mexican Mafia is responsible for 100 homicides per year in Los Angeles alone. (Rafael, 2007). The Mexican Mafia creates new and more challenging security / safety issues for correctional institutions throughout the United States making itimperative for researchers and correctional staff alike to realize the increasing threat levelthis prison gang renders. This article will address the dramatic increase of the Mexican Mafia prison gang and the repercussions this has towards correctional institutions. Also, this article will explain the recruitment and organizational structure of the Mexican Mafia. Lastly, this article will discuss the origin of the Mexican Mafia’s drug trafficking operation and how this criminal activity affects the gang’s day-to-day operations as a criminal organization. John M. Lewis, is a former student of The School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He possesses a M.A. (2009) and B.S. (2006) from Western Illinois University. Mexican Mafia as a threat towards Correctional InstitutionsBy John LewisIntroductionThe Mexican Mafia has been involved in criminal activity both in and outside California prisons for over 40 years. The Mexican Mafia was the first prison gang to transform themselves from a purely prison centered criminal organization into one that had a far reaching influence on the streets. Currently, the Mexican Mafia is considered by law enforcement to be the most powerful, violent, and well-organized criminal organization inside California prisons with connections reaching throughout the United States and Mexico. The Mexican Mafia appeared for the first time at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy, California in 1957 where it took only 13 inmates who were Hispanic gang members from the East Los Angeles area. Luis “Huero Buff” Flores is considered to be the “Founder” of the Mexican Mafia, and while incarcerated at DVI he began recruiting Hispanic gang members that were willing to kill for the organization. On the outside these men were bitter enemies, however, Flores’ goal was to bring these
men together and put aside their differences that they had on the outside because they all had a common need, protection. Members needed protection from rival gang members, inmates and prison staff, and by working together they could defend themselves more efficiently. Flores’ decided the name of his gang would be called the Mexican Mafia to show respect to the Italian Mafia, which at the time was a successful criminal enterprise.