Gang activity in American prisons has resulted in serious problems for prisoners and staff (e.g. Fong & Buentello 1991; Stevens 1997). This study assessed prisoners’ perceptions of gang-event frequency in the U.K. Interviews with 360 prisoners from 9 prisons in England and Wales indicated gang-related events were perceived as more frequent in all male categories of prison than they were in female institutions. Prisoners reported drug possession and prisoner groups being formed along regional origins as the most frequent gang related activities. Recidivists perceived higher levels of gang related activity than did first time prisoners. Gang related variables also predicted prisoners’ perceptions that groups of prisoners have more control over events in the prison than do staff and that order in the prison may not be maintained. The merits of interviewing prisoners and the implications of the results for maintaining order in prison are discussed
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