Question Time with Chris

Chris is a young person sentenced to a UK prison for death by careless driving. Chris crashed while under the influence of drugs. His passenger/best friend died.

Jose in San Diego asked:

Are there U.S. influences i.e. black, white, Crips, Bloods, etc. in the UK prison system? How is the gang structure/segregation in there? Violence?

Chris responded:

Firstly, all of the foreign nationals in UK jails tend to stick together in their own groups. The fresh meat coming in merges into their own races for survival, so as not to be outcasts.

Secondly, Bloods and Crips are world famous for violence, and recognised and respected by UK gang members. A quarter of London gangs have now formed alliances with Bloods and Crips.

In YOI (Young Offenders Institute) [equivalent to a JDC (Juvenile Detention Center) in America] American rap stars are influential, such as Notorious B.I.G. and 2pac [Tupak Shakur]. The rappers lead us towards Bloods and Crips. Those in the UK YOI who want to be taken seriously and are dedicated to their gang portray similar images that you see in the US. For example, gang members here have a limp in their walk to act like they’ve been shot or are carrying a gun. 

Hell’s Angels is another US based gang popular in Britain due to their dedication to their own rules.

In the US, poverty figures are much steeper than in the UK, so people in the US are more inclined to join gangs. Initiations are more popular in the US because they’re more dedicated to gang culture than we are.

Gun law is stricter here, so it’s easier for young people in America to get guns. In the UK, they tend to use knives, so contact with the victim is a risk.

It seems that the way young people are raised in the UK influences their motives for joining gangs.

Shaun Attwood

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