What makes them tick?
Submitted by Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
Prison gang philosophy is very often diametrically opposed to that of the street gang. For example, loyalty is a primary requirement of both groups; but in the prison gangs, disagreements among members are many times settled by the murder of the offending member or members of his family.
The killing of a home boy, on the other hand, is alien to most street gangs. When the street gang makes raids on rival gangs, the intent is not always to kill, per se, but to terrorize their rivals; but if the gang must kill to fulfill its aims, it will. The killing itself is secondary to the intent. While in a prison gang, the killing is of primary importance, with the terror, which the killing generates, as an added extra.
The street gang operates on pure emotion. Their planning is usually unsophisticated and spontaneous. Frequently, there isn't any one person selected to be a victim. The strike is against any member of the opposing gang, as the victim is not the target, but the gang itself. An attack on any gang member is an attack on the body of the gang as a whole; therefore, any member of the opposing gang will do.
A street gang member is too undisciplined and unsophisticated to be recruited directly into a prison gang. Prison gangs, with rare exception, seldom recruit from the street. The prison gang will wait 16 until the youthful offender has been seasoned by progression through the juvenile justice system from probation camps, youth authority training schools, and, finally, by incarceration in state prison.