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National Assessment of Gangs in Correctional Facilities, 1992 (ICPSR 6147) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study sought to identify and examine current policies and strategies for controlling prison gangs and to determine the ways in which correctional facilities were dealing with gangs in their institutions. Respondents to the mail survey included 55 local jail systems and 52 state prison systems (the 50 state Departments of Corrections, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons). The survey question text used the term "security threat group" (STG), which was defined as "two or more inmates, acting together, who pose a threat to the security or safety of staff/inmates and/or are disruptive to programs and/or to the orderly management of the facility/system," rather than the generic term "gang." Data contain information on total inmate population, number of STGs, number of inmates identified as confirmed, suspected, associate, and drop-out members of STGs, total incidents of violence, number of violent incidents by STG members, management strategies to deal with gangs, and names of STGs known to be present within the system.

Access Notes

  • One or more data files in this study are set up in a non-standard format, such as card image format. Users may need help converting these files before they can be used for analysis.

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

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Data:

Study Description

Citation

Baugh, Dennis G., et al. NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF GANGS IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES, 1992. ICPSR version. Washington, DC: American Correctional Association [producer], 1992. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1996. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06147.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (91-IJ-CX-0026)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   correctional facilities, gang members, gangs, inmates, policies and procedures, security

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1992

Date of Collection:  

  • 1992

Unit of Observation:   correctional systems

Universe:   Federal, state, and local correctional facilities in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Seven on-site visits were also conducted as part of this study. Information collected from these on-site visits is provided in textual format in the study's Final Report to the National Institute of Justice.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This study sought to identify and examine current policies and strategies for controlling prison gangs and to determine the ways in which correctional facilities were dealing with gangs in their institutions. Specifically, the project was designed to (1) examine how correctional facilities manage gang activities and the effect this has on prison environments, (2) assess innovative strategies for controlling prison activities, and (3) identify research needs of the future. The survey question text used the term "security threat group" (STG), which was defined as "two or more inmates, acting together, who pose a threat to the security or safety of staff/inmates and/or are disruptive to programs and/or to the orderly management of the facility/system," rather than the generic term "gang." To ensure that the survey group would be representative of the nation's correctional systems, the study population was divided into local jail systems and state prison systems. A focal point of the study was to investigate how local jail systems (designed for short-term inmates) handle gang problems, as compared with state prison systems (designed for long-term inmates).

Study Design:   The jail portion of the study focused on the jail system, a local jurisdiction with two or more detention facilities for housing offenders, rather than concentrating on a jail facility, which was defined as one building. The local jail system was further subdivided into four classifications: (1) mega-jail systems, which had bed capacity ratings that exceed 1,000 beds, (2) large systems, which had ratings between 500 and 1,000 beds, (3) medium systems, which had ratings between 250 and 499 beds, and (4) small systems, which had ratings between 0 and 249 beds. For the 73 selected jail systems, letters were mailed to sheriffs or correctional administrators informing the participants of the scope of the project and bearing the signature of the American Correctional Association's (ACA's) executive director. An additional letter encouraging participation was sent with the survey. For the 52 prison systems, initial contacts to individuals at the correctional system were made by telephone. During the telephone conversation, project staff verified that the contact person was the appropriate person to receive the survey, and also explained to the individual the scope of the project. In states where a contact person had not been specified, project staff called the agency directly to identify one. Letters bearing the ACA executive director's signature were also sent to each agency head to introduce that individual to the project's intent. The letter identified the contact person at that correctional system who would be receiving the survey. The agency head was given the option of designating that the survey be sent to someone other than the selected contact person. Respondents to the mail survey included 55 local jail systems and 52 state prison systems (the 50 state Departments of Corrections, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons).

Sample:   Prison and local jail systems were identified through the American Jail Association's (AJA) 1991 directory, WHO'S WHO IN JAIL MANAGEMENT. All 50 state prison systems, the District of Columbia, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and all 43 mega-jail systems identified through the AJA directory were included in the survey. For each of the small, medium, and large systems, 10 jail systems were randomly selected from each group.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   The survey instrument was divided to collect data from four sections. The statistical information section provided data on total inmate population, number of STGs, number of inmates identified as members of STGs, and number of inmates in STGs who had been identified as confirmed, suspected, associate, or drop-out members. The second section contained two survey items dealing with violence: total number of violent incidents during the past year directed at staff and directed at inmates, and the number of violent incidents perpetrated by STG members. The third section sought to identify management tools or strategies to deal with STGs. Respondents were asked if their system had a centralized unit responsible for monitoring STGs, or if the system had established policies and procedures or rules and regulations concerning STG activity. Respondents were also asked about methods used to control members of STGs. The last section sought to identify names of STGs operating in correctional systems. Respondents could choose from a list of 39 known STGs and could also name other STGs known within their system. Information was also collected on whether the correctional system had either formal and informal means of communicating with other agencies about STGs.

Response Rates:   Prison systems: 100 percent, Jail systems: 75.34 percent

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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