officer if he would tell the driver to call him later that afternoon after he was released" (Sharp, 1996). The passenger knew that his friend was going to be released later on that day. In one poll, 57% of law enforcement officials reported that it is "common in their jurisdictions for officers to apprehend gang members only to find them back on the streets within a matter of hours" (Sharp, 1996). One report calls it "revolving door justice" since "about a third of those arrested for violent crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery and assault, are on probation, parole or pretrial release" (Price, 1996). The offenders come in and then leave out just as quickly. "They know that they are not going to spend much time being held, and nothing is going to happen to them," says Ward. "Until these changes, the justice system is doomed to failure" (Sharp, 1996). There is no debate that gangs are a problem within our society today. They are greatly contributing to the immoral violence that is plaguing our nation. We have to realize that the problem is no longer exclusive to the slums of the inner cities. Gangs have moved into our communities and suburbs as well, right in our own backyard. The amount of gang violence has greatly increased within the last few years, though in many instances, it has gone undetected by the police. However, an offender that is brought in by the police is not guaranteed to be held in custody. Most of the time, the accused offender is once again let loose to roam the streets. Gang violence has become a widespread problem that can no longer be ignored. Hemmens and Marquart (2000) examined the perceptions of inmate-staff relations among a sample of recently released prisoners (referred to in the study as ‘ex-mates’). They found that compared to older ex-mates, younger ex-mates reported having more problems with prison staff, believed that staff treated them poorly, and reported that correctional staff used unnecessary
THE AFFECTS OF GANG VIOLENCE IN AMERICA 7 force on inmates. Similarly, black and Hispanic ex-mates perceived that correctional staff treated them unfairly and in an unduly harsh and dehumanizing manner (Hemmens and Marquart 2000). White ex-mates reported significantly fewer of these concerns. Interestingly, the inmates whom are traditionally most likely to engage in misconduct (e.g. younger inmates and minorities) also disproportionately perceive that prison staff members behave inappropriately towards them. Unfortunately, the current authors were unable to assess if these official data were contaminated by officer bias. It is also important to recognize that the importation model of inmate behavior is at most only one third of the theoretical landscape other important theoretical perspectives are the deprivation and situational approaches. The current data set contained neither measures of facilities (e.g. crowding, type of supervision, staff to inmate ratio, programming) that could be used to assess institutional determinants of prison violence, nor situational measures (e.g.
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- Spring '13
- Gang, gang violence