The attitude of society towards criminals makes it difficult for them to change their ways and lead normal lives once they have been released from prison. This increases the number of repeat offenders who go back in to prisons.
Stricter laws and longer prison sentences have also contributed to the problem. If offenders spend longer times in incarceration for smaller offences, the chances of their being sent to prison again increases leading to a vicious cycle.
The California's prisons hold twice the number of people as they can and this has given to rise to awful living conditions inside the prisons for the inmates. This results in physical and psychological abuse of the already mentally troubled criminals.
According to Building Blocks for Youth, a Juvenile-advocacy alliance in Washington, children in adult facilities are five times as likely to be sexually assaulted and twice as likely to be beaten by the correctional staff as children in juvenile facilities.
A prison gang may be defined unofficially as any gang activity in prisons and correctional facilities. These gangs are responsible, not only for providing protection to their members in the prison, but also for drug, alcohol and tobacco handling inside the prison.
Robert Walker, an expert on prison gangs, defines a gang as "a group of three or more persons who:
Share a common identity, usually through a gang name
Typically adopt and use certain signs, symbols and/or colours and,
Who individually or collectively engage in criminal activity "
Most studies have focussed only on street gangs. However studies were conducted based on data from the Bureau of Prisons by Gerald G. Gaes et al in 2001 to evaluate the contribution of prison gang affiliation to violence and other forms of misconduct within prisons. The authors of this study also examined the level of commitment exhibited by gang members and how this commitment linked up to the degree of violence perpetrated by such members.
Rick Ruddell et al in their 2006 study Gang Intervention in Jails had as survey respondents 134 jail administrators in 39 states. This study dealt with the prevalence of gang members in their facilities. When asked about the problems that these inmates caused in their facilities, respondents reported that while gang members were less