Prison Gangs

Camila Dias, Gavin Slade, Michelle Butler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Prison gangs are a growing problem in prisons. In recent times, Skarbek’s (2011, 2014) governance theory has become increasingly popular in explaining their emergence. Yet, this theory downplays the role that deprivation and importation theories can play in understanding the emergence and behaviour of these gangs. This chapter seeks to address this shortcoming by demonstrating how the inclusion of these theories, alongside the governance theory, can enhance our understanding of prison gang emergence and when gang fragmentation or consolidation may occur. Drawing on research conducted in the US and beyond, this chapter argues that a holistic understanding of prison gangs and their monopolisation of power requires a consideration of the importation and deprivation theories, together with Skarbek’s (2011, 2014) governance theory. Special attention is paid to the wider role political and social processes may play in influencing whether monopoly power by prison gangs is supported and legitimised or not.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrisons and Community Corrections Critical Issues and Emerging Controversies
EditorsPhilip Birch, Louise Sicard
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Print)9780367818715
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020


  • Prison
  • Corrections
  • Prison Gangs
  • Prison Governance
  • Prisoners


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