Jails try to track gang members as they move through system

Upper Marlboro, Md. (AP) - For about a year, Prince George's County jail officials have tried to track gang members through a computerized database. They flag records of inmates who acknowledge belonging to the approximately 20 gangs that operate in the Washington area.

It's a way to ensure safety inside the jail, but also a symptom of a problem with gangs outside the facility's razor-wire fence. As gangs such as MS-13 grow and authorities step up enforcement, the issue eventually makes its way into the penal system.

The numbers of gang members in the state's prisons, which generally handle prisoners after they are sentenced, and the jails, where inmates await trial, are still relatively small.

The Prince George's County Correctional Center usually has only about 20 self-identified gang members at a facility that has a capacity for roughly 1,320 prisoners.

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