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A Profile and Examination of Gang Affiliation within the Federally Sentenced Offender Population

2004 No R-154

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Mark Nafekh
&
Yvonne Stys

Research Branch
Correctional Service of Canada

May 2004

This report is also available in French. Ce rapport est également disponible en français. Veuillez vous adresser à la Direction de la recherche, Service correctionnel du Canada, 340, avenue Laurier ouest, Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0P9. Should additional copies be required they can be obtained from the Research Branch, Correctional Service of Canada, 340 Laurier Ave., West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0P9.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Criminal organizations and those affiliated with them have been a significant factor in the level of violence and other criminal activities in Canada. Law enforcement agencies continue to develop initiatives that are geared towards curtailing the prevalence of gang related crime. Ultimately, the combination of increased gang activity and criminal justice interventions targeting organized crime culminates in the growth of the ‘gang affiliated’ offender population.

This study examined male federal offenders identified as members or associates of a criminal organization. The report outlines the process of identifying and assessing these offenders and examines incarceration trends. Emphasis was placed on profiling gang affiliates, developing an offender profile for different gang subtypes (e.g., motorcycle, traditional, prison, street and Asian) and examining the operational impacts of having a gang presence in a federal institution.

Report Highlights:

  • The study examined 1,955 male offenders identified in the Offender Management System (OMS) as being gang members or gang affiliates over a ten year period, from January 1993 to October, 2003.

  • Only five different types of gang members and/or affiliates were included in the study: motorcycle, traditional, prison, street and Asian. All other gang types including Aboriginal gang members were not included. Additionally, a database maintained by the Service’s Security Branch rather than data obtained during the Offender Intake Assessment and Case Planning Process was used to identify gang members and/or affiliates. It is important to note that the gang identification criteria utilized by Security (as outlined in Commissioner Directive 568-3) historically has generated lower prevalence rates than information obtained during the Offender Intake Assessment Process.

  • Gang-affiliate admissions decreased slightly from 1996 to 1999, but increased in 2000 followed by a slight decline between 2001 and 2003. Over time, there was a gradual increase in the proportion of incarcerated offenders affiliated with an organized crime group within the institutions (2.9% in 1996 to 5.0% in 2003), a pattern which may be explained by the accumulation of gang-affiliates over time. It is important to note that these rates are lower than previously reported estimates for two primary reasons: 1) first, not all gang members were included in the study (e.g., Aboriginal gang members excluded); and 2) the data used to calculate gang prevalence rates was obtained from the database maintained by the Security Branch rather than the Offender Intake Assessment process. Given that published gang prevalence rates have generally been derived from the Offender Intake Assessment process, rather than the database managed by Security, one would expect that the prevalence rates published in this report would be lower than those previously reported.

  • Motorcycle, traditional (i.e. organized crime), and prison gang affiliates were typically Caucasian, while street gang affiliates were most often African-Canadian. Understandably, Asian gang affiliates were predominantly of Asian descent.

  • Regional comparisons found that the majority of gang affiliates were sentenced in the Quebec region, with all gang types being present in this region. The Prairie region was next in sentencing frequency, followed by Ontario, the Pacific, then the Atlantic region. Gang affiliates were most likely to commit offences in areas with a high population density.

  • In general, gang affiliates were found to be younger than non-affiliates at the time of sentencing. Additionally, gang-affiliates received longer sentences for their offences than non-affiliates. This pattern was particularly true for Asian and motorcycle gang affiliates. The exception to this finding was traditional gang affiliates, who tended to be older than their matched counterparts at the time of sentencing.

  • When compared to a matched sample of non-gang affiliates, gang affiliates were more likely to have committed violent, weapons or drug trafficking related offences. Gang affiliates were significantly less likely than non-affiliates to have committed a sexual offence.

  • Gang affiliates were rated as having lower motivation levels and lower reintegration potential, and were more likely to be have been identified as having needs in the areas of associates and attitudes. Gang affiliates were also more likely to have previous youth court convictions than their matched counterparts.

  • Results suggested that the presence of gang affiliates in institutional settings was related to institutional incidents, mainly assaults on staff, assaults on inmates, narcotics seizures, and alcohol related seizures. Further analyses revealed that gang affiliates were more likely to be directly involved in assaults on other inmates, assaults on staff, and in narcotics seizures than non-affiliated offenders.

  • Upon release, gang affiliates in general were no more likely to re-offend than non-affiliated offenders. However, examination of specific gang types found that Asian and street gang affiliates were more likely to re-offend upon release than non-offenders. When gang affiliates did re-offend, they were more likely than non-affiliates to commit drug trafficking and weapons-related offences. Gang affiliates were more likely than non-affiliates to receive certain special conditions upon release, namely, to avoid certain places and persons, and to live in a specified area.

  • The study was limited in its capacity to encompass the unique aspects of organized crime, such as an affiliate’s level of power or position in the gang structure. Future research should involve field work with staff working directly with gang affiliates as well as gang affiliates themselves, both former and current. More in-depth analyses regarding the distinct differences and similarities among gang subtypes is also required. Lastly, the ability of existing programming efforts to address the unique needs of gang affiliates requires investigation.

  • This study lends support to the contention that gang subtypes have unique and differing profiles in terms of static risk, dynamic need, and offence patterns. This finding has important implications for the intervention and management of gang affiliates in our institutions. It would follow from this that specific intervention and management strategies for each gang type would be more effective than a general approach to gangs in institutions. Further research and consideration should be given to this result.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors of this report would like to express their thanks to Vanessa Bottiglia for the formatting of this report and to Dr. Shelley Brown for her editorial comments.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION
The Present Study
METHOD
Sample
Measures
The Offender Intake Assessment
The Statistical Information on Recidivis - Revised (SIR-R1)
The Custody Rating Scale
Reintegration Potential Profile
Motivation Level
Procedures
RESULTS
Federal Admission and Incarceration Trends Over Time
Snapshot Analysis
Ethnic Profile
Geographic Profile
Demographic Profile
Current Offence
Assessment at Intake
Dynamic Factor Identification and Analysis
Static Factor Assessment
Impact of Gang Affiliates on Institutional Incidents
Reconviction Rate Upon Release
Special Conditions
DISCUSSION
CONCLUSION
REFERENCES

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: Proportion of New Admissions Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group (1996-2003)

Table 2: Proportion of Incarcerated Offenders Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group on Any Given Day (1996-2003)

Table 3: Ethnic Composition of Gang Affiliated Offenders (1996-2003)

Table 4: Place of Federal Offence for Gang Affiliated Offenders

Table 5: Statistical Area Classification (SAC) of Offence

Table 6: Current Offences: Gang Affiliate vs. Non-Affiliate

Table 7: Intake Assessment

Table 8: Dynamic Intake Assessment: Identified Factors

Table 9: Offence History of Gang Affiliates vs. Non-Affiliates

Table 10: Relationship Between Gang-Affiliate Presence and Institutional Incidents

Table 11: Relationship Between Gang-Affiliate Presence and Institutional Incidents by Security Levels

Table 12: Direct Involvement in Institutional Incidents

Table 13: Reconviction Types for Affiliates and Non-Affiliates

Table 14: Special Conditions Upon Release for Affiliates and Non-Affiliates

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Proportion of New Admissions Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group (1996-2003)
Figure 2: Proportion of Incarcerated Offenders Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group (1996-2003)

INTRODUCTION

It has been reported that a majority of Canadians feel that organized crime is a serious problem in Canada (Leger Marketing, 2001). This is not surprising as, in Canada, criminal activities perpetrated by members of organized crime organizations and intervention strategies aimed at reducing such activity have been at the forefront of criminal justice issues and media reports. The Canadian Criminal Code defines criminal organizations as having the following qualities:

  • They are composed of three or more persons and,
  • They have as one of their main purposes or main activities the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offences that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of material benefit, including financial benefit, by the group or by any of the persons who constitute the group (Section 467.1).

However, it should be noted that a unanimous definition of organized crime is yet to be established. Considerable debate revolves around the tenants of the construct, and many different definitions are utilized by Canadian agencies. The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) defines a criminal organization as “a group or association that is involved in ongoing illegal activities. This includes groups, organizations, associations or other bodies that were established in the community before their members were incarcerated, as well as groups established in our institutions” (Correctional Service of Canada, 2003).

There has also been disparity regarding the difference between gang activity and organized criminal activity. In past years, organized crime and gang activity were very distinct events motivated by different goals. In recent years, however, this distinction has been blurred (Kenney & Finckenauer, 1995). CSC acknowledges that gangs and organized crime are not mutually exclusive, rather that they are distinguished by the degree of sophistication and entrenchment of the criminal activity. That is, gang activity and organized crime activity differ only in their degree of magnitude, not necessarily in the nature of the offence (Correctional Service of Canada, 1996). For this reason, the terms ‘gang’ and ‘organized crime’ will be used interchangeably in this paper.

New technological advancements and the globalization of the world economy have resulted in the evolution of organized crime. Traditional, lower-level organized activities such as theft, drug trafficking, prostitution and gambling have grown in scope to include higher level criminal activity such as illegal migration, bank fraud and money laundering (Canadian Security Intelligence Service, 2000). This progression is reflected in Canadian crime trends. Between 1992 and 1998, Canada experienced a substantial increase in fraud; specifically in marketing, loan, credit card, telemarketing, identity and internet fraud. In addition, the use of funds arising from such criminal activity were used to finance prostitution, gun running, and narcotics operations (Bi-national Working Group on Cross-Border Mass Marketing Fraud, 2003). Between 1993 and 2001, the amount of marijuana seized by police in Canada increased six-fold, due mostly to the rise in large scale cultivation operations (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2002). Similar to fraud, proceeds generated from marijuana cultivation were used to finance other illicit activities, such as the importation of Ecstasy, liquid hashish and cocaine (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2002). In Canada, imports of Pseudoephedrine (PSE), the main component in the manufacture of methamphetamine, tripled between 1997 and 1998, and have been increasing since that time (Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, 2001).

As organized criminal activity in Canada expands, the potential for organizations to come into conflict increases. Such increases in conflict have given rise to an increase in gang-related violence characterized by murders, attempted murders, arson and bombings. Although difficult to substantiate empirically1, there have been indicators of increased gang violence in Canada. For example, between 1995 and 2000, the number of gang-related homicides in Canada tripled, from 21 to 71 (Statistics Canada, 2003, Juristat vol 23, No 8).

1 With the exception of homicide, Statistics Canada reports crime on an individual basis in the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, thus making it difficult to shed light on trends in gang-related violence in Canada.

In the past, Canada has implemented anti-gang initiatives that focused on destabilizing the realm of organized crime. In 2001, police conducted a series of raids that targeted the cocaine trafficking activities of organized crime groups. The major operation resulted in the arrests of over 200 leaders, members, and associates of organized crime. Raids also resulted in the seizure of cocaine and hashish, precursor drugs2, cash, vehicles, properties and firearms. Subsequently, there has been a substantial decrease in gang-related homicides in Canada for 2001 and 2002, and an overall decrease in gun-related deaths (Statistics Canada, 2002, Juristat vol 23, No 8).

Canada has likewise implemented policies to support the law enforcement initiatives that target organized crime. In 2002, the Criminal Code was amended to include three new offences and tougher sentencing for those offenders involved in organized crime. The amendments also introduced new measures to protect those involved in persecution of organized criminals (i.e. lawyers, police officers, and others involved in the Criminal Justice System), and their families, from intimidation. In the same year, Canada implemented the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which targets human trafficking and penalizes such offences with life sentences and up to 1 million dollars in fines. Other initiatives include the creation of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), which combats money laundering, as well as the Extradition Act (1999), which responds to telemarketing and internet fraud. Anti-gang policy in Canada has also focused on offenders affiliated with organized crime groups. In 1999, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act was amended such that these types of offenders were no longer eligible for accelerated parole review3.

2 A drug is a chemical which can be used in the manufacture of illicit drugs.

3 Accelerated parole review (APR) is available to first-time federal offenders sentenced to offences and allows the National Parole Board to streamline the review of first-time, nonviolent offenders for day or full parole (see section 125 and 126 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act).

The impact and effects of incarcerating affiliated gang members in the federal correctional system has been a growing concern for the CSC. Offenders who are affiliated with an organized crime group pose a number of significant problems for CSC, including intimidation, extortion, internal drug distribution, recruitment, and corruption of staff, and violence within the incarcerated and supervised community populations (CSC Speakers Binder, 2004). In response to these growing concerns, CSC issued policy that outlined the processes of identifying and managing security information relating to criminal organizations (CSC, Commissioner's Directive or CD #576, 1996). The policy was later redrafted to comply with changes in various acts that govern the Service and to increase the degree of compliance on part of all CSC staff. Current CSC policy objectives assert that criminal organizations, and those who are members and associates of a criminal organization, are considered a significant risk factor and pose a serious threat to the safe, secure, orderly and efficient management of federal institutions and community operational units (CSC, CD #568-3, 2003). In order to decrease risk, the policy aims to prevent affiliates from exercising influence and power in institutions and in the community, while encouraging and assisting affiliates to terminate their ties to organized crime groups.

The Present Study

The purpose of the present study is to provide CSC with information that would assist in identifying trends, profiles and operational impacts of gang affiliates within the federal male offender population. Comprehensive analyses of static and dynamic risk factors and correctional performance for this group could assist CSC in balancing offender intervention and reintegration efforts with the safe and secure management of institutional and community operations. The study examined federal offenders affiliated with five types of crime groups: traditional organized crime groups, motorcycle gangs, street gangs, prison gangs, and Asian gangs. Analyses were conducted over various points along the continuum of the criminal justice process, from place of offence to outcome upon release.

The study commenced with a profile of federal offenders affiliated with any of the above mentioned crime groups. Demographic and historical information associated with these offender groupings was examined, including offence histories, location of sentencing, age at first federal admission, ethnicity and sentence length. Assessment results determined during the offender intake assessment process were also examined. This included static and dynamic risk ratings, the institutional adjustment and security risk rating components of the Custody Rating Scale (CRS), Statistical Information on Recidivism (SIR-R1) ratings, motivation level and reintegration potential. Comparisons were drawn using a matched cohort for each affiliation group. Each group was matched on ethnic origin to ensure that results reflected gang affiliation rather than characteristics that may be associated with a particular demographic of the offender population.

The report then examined the operational impacts of gang membership on CSC. Of particular interest was the relationship between institutional incidents and gang affiliation within the prison. Finally, the report examined outcome upon release (reconvicted or not) for those offenders available for a three year post-release follow up period. Type of reconviction was examined to determine whether the gang affiliated offender re-engaged in organized criminal activity.

METHOD

Sample

The present study examined 1,955 male offenders who were identified in CSC’s Offender Management System (OMS) as being a member of, or associated with, a criminal organization. As outlined in Commissioner’s Directive 568 – 3: Identification and Management of Criminal Organizations (Correctional Service of Canada, 2003), an offender is currently identified as being associated with a criminal organization as a result of a specific process. First, a Security Intelligence Officer gathers information regarding the offender's membership in or association with a criminal organization. This information could come from several sources, including the police, the crown, the courts, self-disclosure, correctional service workers, or any other reliable source. Next, a referral sheet is drawn up identifying the offender as an affiliate or member and is presented to the offender. This referral sheet documents the sources of information as well as the evidence of involvement in a criminal organization, including evidence of such things as corruption, monopoly, violence, and sophistication. The referral sheet (along with supporting documentation and a rebuttal from the offender, if applicable) is then forwarded to the Institutional Head or District Director, who reviews the information. Finally, upon approval of the identification by the Institutional Head or District Director, relevant information (affiliation group, status as a member or associate etc.) is entered into OMS.

Prior to this process (which was implemented in January of 2003), offenders were identified as being affiliated with or members of a criminal organization as outlined in Commissioner’s Directive 576: Management of Gangs and Organized Crime (Correctional Service of Canada, 1996). Under this Directive, gang members or affiliates were identified as such during the offender intake process and the institutional Preventive Security Officer was responsible for verifying this identification according to criteria set forth in the Directive. These criteria included identification by a reliable source (such as an inside or rival gang member), police information, tangible evidence, admission of membership, an arrest while participating with known gang members, involvement in gang activity, judicial finding that the subject is a gang member, and common or symbolic gang identification (i.e. tattoos or paraphernalia).

This information was used in this study to identify federal offenders admitted to custody between 1996 and 2003 as either 'affiliated' or 'not-affiliated'. For all federal admissions between January 1993 and October 2003, OMS information was available for 1,955 male federal offenders who were affiliated with any of five types of gang groups. Of those offenders, 46.6% (911) were identified as being affiliated with a motorcycle gang, 24.5% (478) with a street gang, 17.7% (345) with a traditional organized crime group, 8.5% (166) with an Asian gang and the remaining 2.8% (55) with a prison gang.

The total number of affiliated offenders was matched with a sample of offenders admitted to federal custody over the same time period. Eighty percent of the random sample was matched with the affiliate sample in terms of race. For example, as 828 (91%) of the 911 motorcycle gang affiliates were Caucasian, 828 non-affiliates were randomly selected from a pool of Caucasian male offenders, while the remainder were randomly selected from the non-Caucasian male offender group. This type of matching was done to ensure that comparisons reflected gang affiliation rather than characteristics associated with a particular ethnic demographic of the offender population.

Measures

The Offender Intake Assessment

The Offender Intake Assessment (OIA; Motiuk, 1997; Standard Operating Practices 700-04, 2003) is a comprehensive and integrated evaluation of the offender conducted at the time of admission to the federal system. It involves the collection and analysis of information on each offender’s criminal and mental health history, social situation, education, and other factors relevant to determining criminal risk and identifying offender needs. Briefly, the OIA consists of two core components: Static Risk Assessment and Dynamic Factors Identification and Analysis (DFIA). In addition, a suicide risk potential with nine indicators is included in the assessment process.

The Statistical Information on Recidivism - Revised 1 (SIR-R1)

The SIR-R1 (Nuffield, 1982; Nafekh & Motiuk, 2002) is a 15 item scoring system that yields probability estimates of re-offending within three years of release. Measuring demographic and criminal history factors, the SIR-R1 items are tallied to yield a total score ranging from -30 (poor risk) to +27 (very good risk) which are then collapsed into five SIR-R1 groupings ranging from very good (4 out of 5 offenders do not re-offend within 3 years of release) to poor (1 out of 3 do not re-offend within 3 years of release).

The Custody Rating Scale (CRS)

The CRS is an empirically derived actuarial tool comprised of 12 items that generate security designations of minimum, medium or maximum security upon an offender's admission. Scale items are grouped into two subscales, the Institutional Adjustment subscale (5 items) and the Security Risk subscale (7 items). Items within each subscale are summed to provide a total score. The resulting security classification level increases as scores on either subscale increase.

Reintegration Potential Profile

The Reintegration Potential Profile (RPP) is generated at intake for non-Aboriginal male offenders. It is derived automatically based on the results of the three objective classification measures described above: the OIA Overall Static and Dynamic Factor Assessments, the SIR-R1 risk grouping and the CRS security level designation. A rating of low, moderate or high potential is automatically designated for various combinations of the three measures. For example, an inmate with a rating of ‘low’ overall Static/Dynamic risk, ‘good’ on the SIR-R1 and ‘minimum’ on the CRS would receive a high RP level, while a rating of ‘high’, ‘poor’ and ‘maximum’ on those measures respectively yields a low RP level. For Aboriginal and women offenders, RPP is similarly derived using the OIA overall Static and Dynamic factor ratings and the CRS security level designation while omitting the SIR-R1 scale.

Motivation Level

An offender's overall motivation level (low, medium, or high) for intervention at intake is evaluated by the intake officer in consideration of a number of factors:

recognition that a problem exists with lifestyle, behavior and resulting consequences, feelings of responsibility, willingness to change and possession of knowledge and skills to effect that change, and level of external support from family, friends or other community members.

Procedures

For the purposes of this research paper, all available data for federally sentenced offenders were extracted from CSC’s automated database (Offender Management System; OMS). Trends in admissions to federal custody were identified by examining the proportion of affiliated offenders' warrant of committal admissions to the total number of offenders admitted between 1996 and 2003. Chi-square analyses and t-tests were used to draw comparisons between each affiliation group and their respective matched sample across a number of static and dynamic risk factors assessed at intake, including attitudes, associates/social interaction, employment/education, substance abuse, marital/family, community functioning, personal/emotional orientation, criminal history, and offence severity as well as for demographic factors such as age at admission, sentence length and major offence categories. Simple Pearson Correlation Coefficients were examined for indications of a relationship between institutional incidents and the presence of incarcerated offenders who were affiliated with a gang. Additionally, chi-square analyses were conducted to determine if gang affiliates were directly involved in a greater amount of institutional incidents than their matched counterparts. Finally, Chi-square analyses and logistic regression techniques were used to determine whether any significant between-group differences existed for specific outcome measures, namely release outcome.

Statistics Canada's Postal Code Conversion File (PCCF) was used to determine the place of offence by matching the postal codes of sentencing courts and their corresponding PCCF to determine a region, province, city and statistic area classification (SAC) of offence. The SACs identify geographic zones based on population counts and densities resulting from the 2001 Canadian Population Census. The zones are classified as being a component of a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), a Census Agglomeration (CA), an influenced zone, or a territory. The report used SACs to determine the city in which the crime was committed and whether the offence was committed in a rural, urban or other location. This geographic designation was based on the premise that offenders were sentenced by the court closest to the location where the offence was committed.

RESULTS

Federal Admission and Incarceration Trends Over Time

The proportion of warrant of committal admissions to federal custody accounted for by gang-affiliated offenders was examined for 1996 through 2003. Results showed that, in general, admissions for gang affiliates decreased steadily from 1996 to 1999, rose again to peak in 2002, and continued to decrease through 2003. The rise from 2000 to 2002 was most predominant for the motorcycle gang group. Although mostly driven by the motorcycle gang group, the trend in federal warrant of committal admissions is also associated with street and Asian gang sub-groups (see Figure 1 and Table 1). Interestingly, the trend in federal admissions for the traditional organized crime group has typically been opposite to the overall trend, and has been increasing from 2001 to 2003.

 

Table 1: Proportion of New Admissions Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group (1996-2003)
 

All Gangs

Asian

Motorcycle

Prison

Street

Traditional

Date

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

Jan ‘96

5.0

12

0.6

1

2.0

4

0.1

0

1.6

4

0.7

3

Jan ‘97

4.6

31

0.4

7

1.8

12

0.1

0

1.4

5

0.9

7

Jan ‘98

4.2

19

0.3

0

1.6

13

0.1

1

1.2

3

1.0

2

Jan ‘99

3.8

16

0.3

0

1.5

8

0.1

0

1.1

3

0.8

5

Jan ‘00

4.9

17

0.4

3

1.7

9

0.1

0

1.1

3

0.6

2

Jan ‘01

4.4

17

0.5

1

2.2

8

0.1

0

1.1

5

0.5

3

Jan ‘02

4.7

22

0.4

1

2.5

13

0.1

1

1.0

4

0.7

3

Jan ‘03

4.6

14

0.3

1

2.5

7

0.0

0

0.8

5

1.0

1

 

Figure 1: Proportion of New Admissions Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group (1996-2003)

Figure 1:  Proportion of New Admissions Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group (1996-2003)

 

Snapshot Analysis

A snapshot analysis was conducted to gain a more comprehensive understanding regarding gang-affiliated offenders incarcerated on any given day between 1996 and 2003. Overall, the proportion of incarcerated offenders affiliated with an organized crime group increased until 1999, decreased slightly in 2000 and 2001, and increased again in 2002 and 2003 (see Figure 2 and Table 2). This pattern may be attributed to an accumulation of gang-affiliated offenders in the system. Affiliated offenders tend to serve longer sentences than non-affiliated offenders. In addition, as per the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, gang affiliates are not eligible for accelerated parole review. This overall pattern of gang-affiliation is similar for motorcycle and traditional gangs. However, the proportion of Asian gang affiliates increased from 1996 to 1998, remained steady for several years, then decreased in 2003. The proportion of incarcerated offenders affiliated with street gangs steadily increased from 1996-1999, then held constant until 2003, while the proportion of incarcerated offenders affiliated with prison gangs remained unchanged over the time span.

 

Table 2: Proportion of Incarcerated Offenders Affiliated with an Organized Crime Group on Any Given Day (1996-2003)
 

All Gangs

Asian

Motorcycle

Prison

Street

Traditional

Date

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

Jan ‘96

2.9

398

0.2

26

1.5

212

0.2

21

0.5

68

0.5

71

Jan ‘97

3.6

508

0.3

39

1.7

235

0.2

24

0.8

118

0.6

92

Jan ‘98

4.2

565

0.4

51

2.0

273

0.2

23

1.0

129

0.6

89

Jan ‘99

4.6

599

0.4

50

2.0

265

0.2

24

1.3

167

0.7

93

Jan ‘00

4.4

561

0.4

51

1.9

240

0.2

27

1.3

159

0.6

84

Jan ‘01

4.3

538

0.4

51

2.0

248

0.2

27

1.3

163

0.4

49

Jan ‘02

4.7

594

0.4

53

2.3

291

0.2

21

1.3

170

0.5

59

Jan ‘03

5.0

617

0.3

42

2.5

312

0.2

20

1.3

160

0.7

83

 

Figure 2: Proportion of Incarcerated Offenders Affiliated with an Organize Crime Group (1996-2003)

Figure 2:  Proportion of Incarcerated Offenders Affiliated with an Organize Crime Group (1996-2003)

 

Ethnic Profile

Gang affiliates were predominantly Caucasian (67.9%), with Caucasian gang members making up the majority of motorcycle, prison, and traditional organized crime groups (see Table 3). While the prison gang group was made up entirely of Caucasian and Aboriginal offenders, there was more variation in ethnicity within the street gang grouping, with African-Canadian (37.1%), Caucasian (28.7%), and Aboriginal offenders (20.4%) being affiliated with this group. Notably, while accounting for 6.4% of all warrant of committal admissions from 1993 to 2003, African-Canadian offenders comprised 10.1% of gang affiliated offenders and 37.1% of street-gang affiliated offenders admitted over the same time period.

 

Table 3: Ethnic Composition of Gang Affiliated Offenders (1996-2003)
 


Gang Type

Ethnicity

%
Asian
(N = 311)

%
Motorcycle
(N = 1801)

%
Prison
(N = 110)

%
Street
(N = 916)

%
Traditional
(N =683)

Caucasian

9.6

91.3

60.0

28.7

89.6

Aboriginal

3.0

5.3

40.0

20.4

1.4

Asian

80.1

0.4

0.0

3.0

1.4

African-Canadian

0.6

2.0

0.0

37.1

0.6

Other

6.6

1.0

0.0

10.8

7.0

 

Geographic Profile

The location of the sentencing court was used as a proximal variable to determine the areas in which gang-affiliated offenders committed their offences. Overall, 80% of the crime committed by organized crime affiliates in Canada was committed in 20 different communities (cities, towns etc.; see Table 4). The results illustrate that gang groups committed offences in large cities that, intuitively, correspond to the region they were most likely to commit their offence in. For example, motorcycle gang affiliates and traditional organized crime groups committed most of their offences in Montreal and Quebec City.

Regionally, Quebec accounted for over half of the distribution of offences committed by gang-affiliated offenders (55.9%) while the next highest distributions were in the Prairies (19.9%), Ontario (13.2%), the Pacific region (6.8%) and the Atlantic region (4.2%). Comparisons between gang groupings and their respective matched counterparts revealed significant regional variations in offending. Motorcycle and traditional organized crime affiliates were more likely than their non-affiliated counterparts to have committed offences in Quebec (70.1% vs. 25.3 %, χ² (1, N = 1323) = 284.32, p<.001 and 88.0% vs. 23.7%, χ² (1, N = 529) = 237.31, p<.001, respectively). Asian gangs were more likely to have committed offences in the Pacific and Quebec regions (28.9% vs. 15.8% and 13.2% vs. 3.8%, χ² (1, N = 317) = 32.95, p<.001). Street gangs were significantly more likely to have committed their offences in the Prairie and Quebec regions (38.6% vs. 26.9% and 33.7% vs. 12.9%, χ² (1, N = 805) = 103.05, p<.001). No significant differences where found between prison gang affiliates and non-affiliates in terms of region of offense.

 

Table 4: Place of Federal Offence for Gang Affiliated Offenders
 

Gang Type

City

%
All Gangs
(N=3821)

%
Asian
(N=311)

%
Motorcycle
(N=1801)

%
Prison
(N=110)

%
Street
(N=916)

%
Traditional
(N=683)

Montreal

29.7

10.8

21.7

4.9

2.2

63.4

Quebec City

9.7

0.6

20.8

12.2

0.5

3.6

Winnipeg

8.0

0.0

3.0

7.3

23.2

0.0

Edmonton

5.7

27.2

1.4

14.6

7.0

0.0

Toronto

3.7

15.8

1.7

0.0

3.2

2.9

Calgary

3.6

7.0

2.8

12.2

4.9

0.0

Vancouver

3.5

20.9

0.6

0.0

2.9

1.8

Longueuil

2.1

0.6

2.8

0.0

1.1

3.3

Laval

1.8

0.0

3.3

0.0

1.4

0.4

Saint-Jerome

1.5

0.6

2.5

0.0

0.9

1.1

Hull

1.4

0.0

3.2

2.4

0.0

0.4

London

1.4

0.0

2.7

0.0

0.9

0.0

Ottawa

1.3

0.0

0.9

0.0

2.9

0.4

Chicoutimi

1.2

0.0

2.7

0.0

0.0

0.7

Halifax

1.0

0.0

0.5

0.0

2.9

0.0

Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu

1.0

0.0

2.2

0.0

0.2

0.4

Sherbrooke

0.9

0.0

0.9

2.4

0.0

2.5

Joliette

0.8

0.0

2.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

Dartmouth

0.8

0.0

0.9

0.0

1.4

0.0

Victoriaville

0.7

0.0

0.2

0.0

0.0

3.6

Other

20.0

16.5

23.0

43.9

17.5

15.6

 

Next, information from Statistics Canada was used to determine whether there was a relationship between place of offence and population size and density. For this analysis, three geographic groupings based on Statistical Classification Areas (SACs) were created: census metropolitan areas (CMA), which have a census population count of at least 100,000; census agglomerations, which have a census population of less than 100,000 but more than 10,000; and rural areas that have a census population count of under 10,000. When compared to their matched counterparts, gang affiliates were more likely to commit their offences in a geographic area with a higher population count and density (see Table 5).

 

Table 5: Statistical Area Classification (SAC) of Offence
   

Census
Metropolitan Area
(>100,000)

Census
Agglomeration
(10,000 – 100,000)

Rural Area
(<10,000)

Gang Type

χ ²

%

N

%

N

%

N

All Gangs***

138.30

57.0

1332

36.6

189

20.4

34

Asian**

12.10

53.0

149

39.1

9

0.0

0

Motorcycle***

38.92

53.6

510

35.8

101

30.0

24

Prison*

8.95

60.4

29

52.2

12

0.0

0

Street***

44.74

61.5

408

33.0

29

21.6

8

Traditional***

45.60

59.9

236

38.0

38

6.1

2

Note: df for each test = 2. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001

 

Demographic Profile

Gang affiliates were younger at first federal admission (Mgang==31, Mnongang==33 yrs; t (3908) = 5.51, p<.001) and were given longer sentences (Mgang=4.4, Mnongang==3.3 years; t (3908) = -12.08. p<.001) compared to non gang-affiliated offenders. A breakout of the five different gang groupings revealed variation amongst the gang groups and differences with their respective matched samples. Specifically, Asian and motorcycle gang affiliates were younger at admission (29 vs. 31, t (330) = 1.85, p>.05 and 33 vs. 34, t (1820) = 2.55, p<.05 respectively) and, on average, were given sentences that were one year longer than their matched group (4.9 vs. 3.9, t (330) = -2.45, p<.05 and 4.0 vs. 3.2, t (1820) = -7.00, p<.001, respectively). In comparison, traditional organized crime affiliates were older (40 vs. 34, t (692) = -8.27, p<.001) and were given sentences over twice as long as their matched counterparts (6.3 years vs. 3.0 years, t (692) = -12.53, p<.001).

Notably, street and prison gang affiliates were much younger than their matched counterparts (23 vs. 31, t (950) =16.69, p<.001 and 25 vs. 34, t (108) = 5.57, p<.001, respectively). This may be due to the higher representation of Aboriginal offenders within these groups. The population of Aboriginal peoples in Canada is much younger than that of Canada's non-Aboriginal population (a median 24.7 years versus 37.7; Statistics Canada, 2001). This is also reflected in the incarcerated federal offender population (a median 28.4 years versus 31.3). However, there were no significant differences in terms of sentence length for street or prison gang affiliates.

Current Offence

Inspection of current federal offence data revealed that, when compared to their matched counterparts, gang affiliates were more likely to be convicted for drug trafficking (38.3% versus 19.8%, p<.001), drug possession (9.0% versus 6.2%, p<.01), and weapons related offences (19.6% versus 5.4%, p<.001). Gang affiliates were also less likely to have had a sexual assault conviction. There were no differences in homicide offences between the two groups (see Table 6).

Differences in offence type were also examined between individual gang sub-groupings and their respective matched samples. Overall, each of the sub-groups was less likely to have had a conviction for a sexual assault than their matched counterparts. Analyses also revealed that variations existed within the offence categories amongst the groupings, suggesting gang-specific areas of criminal specialization. Specifically, street gang affiliates were more likely to have had convictions for violent offences such as homicide, robbery, and offences involving the use of a weapon. Prison gang affiliates were also more likely to have convictions for violent offences such as robbery. Motorcycle gang affiliates were more diversified, being more likely to have drug trafficking, drug possession, and weapons-related convictions. Those affiliated with traditional organized crime groups were more than twice as likely to have been convicted of a drug trafficking offence than their matched counterparts while being significantly less likely to have a conviction for a violent offence (see Table 6). The finding that traditional gang affiliates are significantly more likely to be involved in drug trafficking, combined with the earlier noted increase in incarceration trends, supports the notion that anti-gang initiatives such as FINTRAC are destabilizing this group’s ability to launder the proceeds stemming from trafficking in illicit drugs.

 

Table 6: Current Offenses: Gang Affiliate vs.Non-Affiliate
 

Gang Type

Offence

All Gangs

 


χ ²


N


Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.01

105

5.4

5.3

Robbery*

4.00

438

22.4

19.8

Sexual Assault***

199.24

48

2.5

15.3

Drug Trafficking***

162.60

749

38.3

19.8

Drug Possession**

10.60

176

9.0

6.2

Weapons***

50.70

97

19.6

5.4

 

 

Asian

 


χ²


N


Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.00

9

5.4

5.4

Robbery

3.79

33

19.9

12.1

Sexual Assault*

5.02

4

2.4

7.8

Drug Trafficking

0.05

78

47.0

45.8

Drug Possession

0.85

8

4.8

7.2

Weapons*

4.81

7

11.3

1.6

 

 

Motorcycle

 


χ²


N


Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.01

39

4.3

4.4

Robbery

0.08

190

20.9

23.2

Sexual Assault***

119.01

16

1.8

13.7

Drug Trafficking***

149.09

398

43.7

19.2

Drug Possession***

19.36

106

11.6

6.3

Weapons***

55.12

63

30.1

9.0

 

 

Prison

 


χ²


N


Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.00

4

7.3

7.3

Robbery***

14.28

25

45.5

12.7

Sexual Assault***

11.79

1

1.8

23.6

Drug Trafficking

1.93

5

9.1

18.2

Drug Possession

0.91

7

12.7

7.3

Weapons

2.53

1

0.0

0.0

 

 

Street

 


χ²


N


Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide**

8.06

46

9.6

4.9

Robbery***

13.31

162

33.9

23.2

Sexual Assault***

18.85

26

5.4

13.7

Drug Trafficking

0.00

92

19.2

19.2

Drug Possession

0.13

33

6.9

6.3

Weapons**

8.41

22

22.2

9.0

 

 

Traditional

 


χ²


N


Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide**

13.02

7

2.0

8.0

Robbery***

16.51

28

8.1

18.6

Sexual Assault***

59.47

1

0.3

16.6

Drug Trafficking***

102.58

176

51.0

14.9

Drug Possession

0.01

22

6.4

6.6

Weapons

0.51

4

3.4

5.4

Note: df for each test = 1. *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

Assessment at Intake

Overall, gang affiliates were more likely to be rated as having low reintegration potential and low motivation level compared to non-affiliated offenders (23.3% versus 18.7%, p<.01 and 21.6% versus 13.6%, p<.001, respectively). Gang affiliates were also less likely to be rated by the SIR-R1 as being a poor risk (21% versus 25.6%, p<.01). There were no differences between gang affiliates and non-affiliates on maximum security ratings or on static or dynamic risk levels (see Table 7).

Each gang type was compared to its matched counterpart on the above ratings. Comparisons revealed group specific results that support the notion of an offender affiliate profile rooted in gang grouping. For instance, street gang affiliates were more likely to have higher static and dynamic risk ratings than non-affiliated offenders. They also had lower motivation and reintegration potential upon intake. Street gang affiliates were also significantly more likely to be rated as maximum security on the CRS and higher risk of re-offending on the SIR-R1. Results for prison gang affiliates showed similar patterns (see Table 7). This was not surprising, given earlier results showing these groups to be significantly more likely to be serving a federal sentence for a violence-related offence.

Conversely, those affiliated with traditional organized crime groups were significantly more likely to have significantly lower overall static and dynamic risk ratings, higher reintegration potential ratings and be rated as low risk of re-offending on the SIR-R1. This would be expected, given the static nature of these assessments and the lack of a criminal history for this group. Namely, this group was less likely to have committed violent offences and to have a criminal history involving previous youth and/or adult convictions (see Static Factor Assessment section).

Since motorcycle gang affiliates had offending patterns similar to both street, prison, and traditional organized crime groups, it was not surprising that there existed consistent significant differences with their matched counterparts on overall static and dynamic risk ratings, CRS ratings or motivation level scores. Finally, comparisons across the above factors for Asian gang affiliates showed this group to be significantly more likely to be rated as having higher static risk and dynamic risk ratings than their matched counterparts. Comparisons across the other factors revealed no significant differences.

 

Table 7: Intake Assessment
 

Gang Type

Factor

All Gangs

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

High Static Risk

0.66

456

31.9

33.4

High Dynamic Risk

0.45

603

42.4

43.5

Low Reintegration Potential**

6.76

295

23.3

18.7

Low Motivation Level***

23.88

274

21.6

13.6

CRS Max. Security Rating

3.12

161

10.5

8.5

SIR-R1Rating=Poor Risk**

7.56

294

21.0

25.6

 

 

Asian

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

High Static Risk*

3.97

47

32.2

21.3

High Dynamic Risk*

4.29

57

39.0

27.0

Low Reintegration Potential

3.37

24

17.9

9.7

Low Motivation Level

0.33

20

14.9

12.4

CRS Max. Security Rating

0.21

12

7.9

6.5

SIR-R1Rating=Poor Risk

0.43

11

7.1

5.3

 

 

Motorcycle

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

High Static Risk*

6.38

163

27.8

34.9

High Dynamic Risk*

5.27

244

41.6

48.6

Low Reintegration Potential

0.08

113

21.7

21.0

Low Motivation Level***

16.91

130

25.0

14.4

CRS Max. Security Rating

0.13

56

8.5

9.1

SIR-R1Rating=Poor Risk*

4.30

139

23.3

28.7

 

 

Prison

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

High Static Risk***

19.48

26

76.5

21.3

High Dynamic Risk***

13.03

27

79.4

27.0

Low Reintegration Potential***

28.07

23

79.3

9.7

Low Motivation Level**

6.75

14

48.3

12.4

CRS Max. Security Rating***

11.60

12

36.6

6.5

SIR-R1Rating=Poor Risk**

6.76

17

60.7

5.3

 

 

Street

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

High Static Risk**

8.94

186

46.3

34.7

High Dynamic Risk***

21.23

233

58.0

39.9

Low Reintegration Potential***

12.28

122

35.6

21.8

Low Motivation Level**

8.31

81

23.6

13.8

CRS Max. Security Rating**

8.66

74

17.7

9.9

SIR-R1Rating=Poor Risk

3.72

121

34.2

27.0

 

 

Traditional

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

High Static Risk***

36.35

34

12.9

34.9

High Dynamic Risk***

51.37

42

16.0

48.6

Low Reintegration Potential***

12.70

13

5.4

21.0

Low Motivation Level

0.01

29

12.0

14.4

CRS Max. Security Rating*

4.83

7

2.6

9.1

SIR-R1Rating=Poor Risk***

69.39

6

2.2

28.7

Note: df for each test = 1. *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

 

Dynamic Factor Identification and Analysis

As part of the Dynamic Factor Identification and Analysis (DFIA), offenders are rated on seven dynamic factors: employment and education, family/marital relations, associates/social interaction, substance abuse, community functioning, personal emotional orientation and attitude. Each dynamic factor is rated on either a three or four-point scale ranging from “no immediate need for improvement” to “considerable need for improvement”. Offenders identified as having "some" or "considerable" needs in particular areas are generally referred to treatment to address those needs.

Table 8 reveals results of between group comparisons on global dynamic factor ratings assessed at intake for the general gang affiliation group as well as the affiliation sub-groups. Gang affiliates in general were significantly more likely to have associates/social interaction (88.9% versus 61%, p<.001) and attitude (72.7% versus 51.9%, p<.001) identified as needs. They were also significantly less likely to have identified needs in the areas of employment/education (50.6% versus 57.2%, p<.01), family/marital relations (25% versus 41.3%, p<.001), substance abuse (43.6% versus 61.6%, p<.001), community functioning (29.2% versus 38.8%, p<.001), and personal emotional orientation (68.9% versus 51.9%, p<.001).

Identified 'associates' and 'attitude' needs were consistent across all paired comparisons. Analyses for individual gang groupings revealed identified needs across gang type that varied from the more general collapsed grouping. Street and prison gangs were more likely to have had employment/education identified as needs when compared to their matched counterparts. Interestingly, traditional organized crime gang affiliates were significantly less likely to have needs identified in the employment/education, family/marital, substance abuse, community functioning and personal/emotional domains of the DFIA than their matched counterparts. Motorcycle gang affiliates showed similar trends, while street gang affiliates had less needs identified in the community functioning and personal/emotional domain.

 

Table 8: Dynamic Factor Intake Assessment: Identified Factors
 

Gang Type

Factor

All Gangs

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Employment**

10.82

724

50.6

57.2

Family/Marital***

75.63

358

25.0

41.3

Associates***

271.72

1272

88.9

61.0

Substance Abuse***

80.84

624

43.6

61.6

Community Functioning***

25.47

418

29.2

38.8

Personal/Emotional***

95.26

986

68.9

85.6

Attitude***

116.08

1040

72.7

51.9

 

 

Asian

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Employment

2.68

108

74.0

64.8

Family/Marital

1.75

44

30.1

23.0

Associates***

29.37

138

94.5

69.7

Substance Abuse

3.23

71

48.6

37.7

Community Functioning

2.12

63

43.2

34.4

Personal/Emotional

0.01

118

80.8

81.2

Attitude**

10.22

101

69.2

50.0

 

 

Motorcycle

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Employment***

25.06

239

40.8

56.0

Family/Marital***

78.18

116

19.8

44.8

Associates***

128.53

524

89.4

59.8

Substance Abuse***

88.21

229

39.1

67.7

Community Functioning***

22.64

144

24.6

38.0

Personal/Emotional***

77.40

369

63.0

86.6

Attitude***

93.07

463

79.0

51.2

 

 

Prison

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Employment***

17.01

28

82.4

31.0

Family/Marital

2.50

22

64.7

44.8

Associates***

22.14

31

91.8

34.5

Substance Abuse

3.37

29

85.3

65.5

Community Functioning

0.69

14

41.2

31.0

Personal/Emotional

0.08

31

91.2

93.1

Attitude*

4.29

24

70.6

44.8

 

 

Street

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Employment*

6.21

275

68.4

59.0

Family/Marital

1.98

146

36.3

41.7

Associates***

41.43

347

86.3

65.3

Substance Abuse

0.71

243

60.5

57.2

Community Functioning*

5.86

145

36.1

45.4

Personal/Emotional*

4.09

357

88.8

83.4

Attitude**

6.72

261

64.9

55.0

 

 

Traditional

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Employment***

36.36

74

28.1

56.6

Family/Marital***

57.89

30

11.4

42.9

Associates***

59.46

232

88.2

56.0

Substance Abuse***

100.90

52

19.8

67.0

Community Functioning***

13.22

52

19.8

35.2

Personal/Emotional***

94.40

111

42.1

87.9

Attitude***

20.55

191

72.6

51.7

Note: df for each test = 1. *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

 

Static Factor Assessment

The Offender Intake Assessment (OIA) process collects extensive information on each offender’s criminal history record (youth and adult court involvement) and violent offence history. Overall, the gang-affiliated offenders did not vary significantly from matched non-affiliated offenders on many offences, although any differences were more likely to occur in the young offender history records. A breakdown of gang-affiliates by gang type illustrated several differences between gang types on criminal histories (see Table 9). Specifically, traditional organized crime groups were significantly less likely to have had a history of violence, youth court, and adult court involvements than their non-affiliated comparison group. This pattern was likewise the case for street gang affiliates. Similarly, prison gang affiliates were more likely to have a history of youth court involvement and a history of violent offending in comparison to their matched group. Motorcycle gang affiliates were significantly more likely to have previous adult court involvements while there were few differences between Asian gang affiliates and their matched counterparts with respect to the same criminal history items.

 

Table 9: Offence History of Gang Affiliates vs. Non-Affiliates
 

Gang Type

Offence

All Gangs

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Young Offender History

       

Previous Offences*

4.50

515

40.7

36.2

Community Supervision

0.35

401

31.8

30.6

Open Custody*

6.36

295

23.5

19.0

Secure Custody

2.93

294

23.4

20.4

Disciplinary Transfer*

8.03

85

6.9

4.1

Transfer to Adult Facility***

10.95

48

3.9

1.5

Adult Offender History

       

Previous Offences

0.77

952

74.5

72.9

Segregation*

4.39

172

14.2

11.2

Escape/UAL

0.30

132

10.4

11.2

No crime free period for 1 year

0.13

167

13.1

12.6

Violent Offence History

       

Previous/current violent offence(s)

1.08

322

25.2

23.3

Previous/current weapons offence

0.59

617

48.3

50.0

 

 

Asian

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Young Offender History

       

Previous Offences

2.25

31

26.7

18.4

Community Supervision

3.61

29

25.0

14.8

Open Custody**

10.68

18

15.5

2.8

Secure Custody

2.06

14

12.1

6.5

Disciplinary Transfer*

4.76

5

4.3

0.0

Transfer to Adult Facility

0.94

1

0.0

0.0

Adult Offender History

       

Previous Offences

1.10

83

66.9

60.4

Segregation

0.02

4

3.4

3.7

Escape/UAL*

5.67

11

9.0

1.8

No crime free period for 1 year

0.86

12

9.7

6.4

Violent Offence History

       

Previous/current violent offence(s)

2.08

28

22.6

30.9

Previous/current weapons offence

0.82

48

38.7

44.6

 

 

Motorcycle

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Young Offender History

       

Previous Offences

0.22

192

35.9

37.4

Community Supervision**

6.96

127

23.9

31.5

Open Custody

0.96

90

17.0

19.5

Secure Custody

0.91

98

18.6

21.0

Disciplinary Transfer

0.00

25

4.8

4.9

Transfer to Adult Facility

0.56

12

2.3

1.6

Adult Offender History

       

Previous Offences***

17.95

461

86.2

75.6

Segregation

4.15

82

16.7

11.9

Escape/UAL

1.24

65

12.3

14.7

No crime free period for 1 year

0.00

65

12.2

12.2

Violent Offence History

       

Previous/current violent offence(s)

1.08

100

18.7

21.4

Previous/current weapons offence

0.00

255

47.7

47.7

 

 

Prison

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Young Offender History

       

Previous Offences***

17.35

21

87.5

29.6

Community Supervision***

16.81

20

83.3

25.9

Open Custody***

19.01

17

70.8

11.1

Secure Custody***

19.54

16

66.7

7.4

Disciplinary Transfer**

8.13

8

34.8

3.7

Transfer to Adult Facility

3.59

20.8

3.7

 

Adult Offender History

       

Previous Offences

0.35

17

70.8

63.0

Segregation**

10.82

10

41.7

3.7

Escape/UAL***

13.99

10

41.7

0.0

No crime free period for 1 year*

9.88

11

45.8

7.4

Violent Offence History

       

Previous/current violent offence(s)*

5.89

11

45.8

14.8

Previous/current weapons offence

0.59

15

62.5

51.9

 

 

Street

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Young Offender History

       

Previous Offences***

47.26

248

69.1

40.3

Community Supervision***

33.42

210

58.8

34.2

Open Custody***

30.03

163

45.8

23.2

Secure Custody***

22.93

161

45.2

25.5

Disciplinary Transfer***

16.46

46

13.7

3.2

Transfer to Adult Facility***

12.82

30

8.6

1.4

Adult Offender History

       

Previous Offences

0.41

247

68.4

70.9

Segregation*

4.38

71

20.4

13.4

Escape/UAL

0.01

36

10.1

9.9

No crime free period for 1 year

2.86

74

20.6

15.0

Violent Offence History

       

Previous/current violent offence(s)***

24.80

164

45.6

25.1

Previous/current weapons offence***

10.98

249

69.2

55.7

 

 

Traditional

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Young Offender History

       

Previous Offences***

51.65

23

9.9

40.8

Community Supervision***

51.06

15

6.5

34.8

Open Custody**

41.44

7

3.0

24.4

Secure Custody***

43.20

5

2.2

23.1

Disciplinary Transfer**

10.78

1

0.4

5.6

Transfer to Adult Facility*

4.51

0

1.9

0.0

Adult Offender History

       

Previous Offences***

12.52

144

61.5

78.5

Segregation***

16.43

5

2.2

12.6

Escape/UAL**

7.21

10

4.3

11.4

No crime free period for 1 year***

23.46

5

2.1

15.2

Violent Offence History

       

Previous/current violent offence(s)***

15.86

19

8.1

22.3

Previous/current weapons offence***

37.89

50

21.4

51.3

Note: df for each test = 1. *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

 

Impact of Gang Affiliates on Institutional Incidents

The study examined the relationship between the rate of institutional incidents and the proportion of incarcerated affiliated offenders in an effort to assess the degree to which the presence of gang-affiliated offenders was associated with institutional incidents. In doing so, the monthly incident rates of assaults on staff, assaults on inmates, alcohol/brew and narcotic-related contraband seizures were compared to the proportion of inmates affiliated with a gang on the first day of each month between January 1996 and October 2003. Given that it can not be determined if gang-affiliates were either directly or indirectly involved in the incidents, the report examined both the strength of the relationship between institutional incidents and 'gang presence' in general, as well as the degree to which gang-affiliates were directly involved in institutional incidents.

Simple Pearson Correlation Coefficients were conducted using aggregate analyses where the number of institutional incidents and the proportion of gang affiliates represent events which occurred over a six year period. Results indicated a strong relationship between the institutional incidents of interest and the proportion of gang affiliated offenders incarcerated at the time (see Table 10). However, the strength of these relationships varied by gang grouping. There was a positive relationship between incidents of narcotics-related contraband seizures and the proportion of traditional and motorcycle gang groupings respectively. This relationship did not exist for the other gang groupings, yet for those same groups, there was a similar-type relationship for alcohol/brew seizures.

Notably, the affiliate-assault rate relationship for traditional organized crime groups was contrary to all other affiliate groups. Specifically, there was an inverse relationship with assaults on inmates and/or staff for this group while for all other gang groupings, this relationship was positive (see Table 10). This may arise from the fact that organized crime affiliates were less likely to be initially rated with a maximum security rating.

 

Table 10: Relationship Between Gang-Affiliate Presence and Institutional Incidents
 

Incidents per 100 inmates

Gang Type

Assaults
on Staff
r

Assaults
on Inmate
r

Narcotics
Seizures
r

Alcohol/Brew
Seizures
r

All Gangs

.58***

.46***

.47** 

.41***

Asian

.38***

.22*  

.28    

.24*  

Motorcycle

.54***

.51***

.41** 

.24*  

Prison

.42***

.33** 

.45** 

.34***

Street

.61***

.45***

.05   

.49***

Traditional

-.25*  

-.30** 

.36*  

.04   

Note: * p<.05, ** p<.01, *** p<.001

In keeping with our Mission, CSC employs the least restrictive measures consistent with the protection of staff members and offenders. Thus, offenders assessed as being low risk on the CRS institutional adjustment and security risk subscales would typically be incarcerated at lower security level institutions. As a result, one would expect fewer incidents of assault at lower security level institutions. Upon examining the relationship between gang-affiliate presence and institutional incidents in minimum, medium, and maximum security institutions, no significant relationship existed between overall gang-affiliation and incidents of assault in minimum security institutions (see Table 11). However, a breakdown into gang types revealed a slight correlation between traditional gang presence and assaults on staff in minimum security institutions and a stronger correlation between prison gang presence and assaults on inmates in minimum security institutions.

Assaults on staff was significantly associated with the presence of gang-affiliates in general as well as motorcycle gang presence and street gang presence in medium security institutions. The presence of gang-affiliates in general was also significantly associated with assaults on inmates, but to a lesser degree, while Asian gang presence was likewise found to be significantly associated with assaults on inmates. Interestingly, the presence of traditional gang affiliates in medium security institutions was inversely significantly related to both assaults on staff and assaults on inmates.

Examination of the relationship between gang-affiliate presence and institutional incidents in maximum security institutions found that, in general, gang-affiliate presence was significantly correlated with all types of incidence (see Table 11). Assaults on staff were most strongly correlated with motorcycle and prison gang presence, while motorcycle and street gang presence was most significantly correlated with assaults on inmates, narcotics seizures, and alcohol/brew seizures.

 

Table 11: Relationship Between Gang-Affiliate Presence and Institutional Incidents by Security Level
 

Incidents per 100 inmates – Minimum Security

Gang Type

Assaults on Staff
r

Assaults on Inmate
r

Narcotics Seizures
r

Alcohol/Brew Seizures
r

All Gangs

.13

.20

-.10

.14

Asian

-.10

.05

.37***

-.18

Motorcycle

-.09

.00

.25*

.03

Prison

.10

.30**

-.36***

-.04

Street

-.05

-.01

.12

.12

Traditional

.27*

.19

-.50***

.12

 

Incidents per 100 inmates – Medium Security

 

Assaults on Staff
r

Assaults on Inmate
r

Narcotics Seizures
r

Alcohol/Brew Seizures
r

All Gangs

.35***

.25*

.47***

.23*

Asian

.18

.22*

.06

.24*

Motorcycle

.42***

.16

.65***

.05

Prison

.00

.20

.05

-.03

Street

.22*

.19

.05

.28**

Traditional

-.26*

-.11

.10

-.07

 

Incidents per 100 inmates – Maximum Security

 

Assaults on Staff
r

Assaults on Inmate
r

Narcotics Seizures
r

Alcohol/Brew Seizures
r

All Gangs

.27*

.45***

.63***

.30**

Asian

-.02

-.22*

.06

.09

Motorcycle

.48***

.40***

.50***

.33**

Prison

.43***

.07

-.04

.12

Street

.29**

.50***

.67***

.40***

Traditional

-.27**

-.06

-.09

.09

Note: * p<.05, ** p<.01, *** p<.001

Chi-square analyses were conducted in order to determine if the amount of institutional incidents that gang-affiliates were directly involved in differed from the amount non-affiliated offenders were directly involved in. Table 12 outlines the resulting chi-square values and the proportions of each group directly related to institutional incidents. Results found that overall, gang affiliates were significantly more likely to be directly involved in assaults on other inmates (χ² (1, N = 3910) = 39.87, p<.001), significantly more likely to be directly involved in assaults on staff (χ² (1, N = 3910) = 4.86, p<.05), and significantly more likely to be directly involved in narcotics-related contraband seizures (χ² (1, N= 3910) = 16.27, p<.001).

An examination of direct involvement in institutional incidents by type of gang revealed interesting results. Asian gang affiliates were more likely to be involved in narcotic or alcohol related seizures while motorcycle gang affiliates were more likely to be involved in assaults on other inmates than their non-affiliated counterparts. Prison gang affiliates were more likely than non-affiliates to be directly involved on assaults on inmates, staff, and in alcohol seizures. Also, while street gang affiliates were significantly more likely than non-affiliates to be directly involved in all four types of incidents, traditional gang affiliates were significantly less likely than non-affiliates to be directly involved in all four types of institutional incidents (see Table 12).

 

Table 12: Direct Involvement in Institutional Incidents
 

Gang Type

Incident

All Gangs

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Assault on Inmate***

39.87

257

13.2

7.1

Assault on Staff*

4.86

79

4.0

2.8

Narcotics Seizure***

16.27

117

6.0

3.3

Alcohol Seizure

0.71

133

6.8

3.3

 

 

Asian

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Assault on Inmate

0.89

18

10.8

7.8

Assault on Staff

0.85

7

4.2

2.4

Narcotics Seizure**

8.45

13

7.8

1.2

Alcohol Seizure*

5.53

10

6.0

1.2

 

 

Motorcycle

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Assault on Inmate**

10.72

102

11.2

6.8

Assault on Staff

2.96

19

2.1

3.4

Narcotics Seizure

3.73

49

5.4

3.5

Alcohol Seizure

1.37

50

5.5

6.8

 

 

Prison

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Assault on Inmate***

19.85

21

38.2

3.6

Assault on Staff**

7.04

9

16.4

1.8

Narcotics Seizure

0.00

1

1.8

1.8

Alcohol Seizure***

14.31

17

30.9

3.6

 

 

Street

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Assault on Inmate***

34.67

109

22.8

8.9

Assault on Staff***

23.21

43

9.0

1.9

Narcotics Seizure***

18.00

51

10.7

3.6

Alcohol Seizure**

9.82

53

11.1

5.5

 

Traditional

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Assault on Inmate*

5.61

7

2.0

5.4

Assault on Staff*

6.40

1

0.3

2.6

Narcotics Seizure*

5.41

3

0.9

3.4

Alcohol Seizure***

20.80

3

0.9

8.0

Note: df for each test = 1. *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

 

Reconviction Rate Upon Release

The report examined reconviction for all offenders in the sample released and available for a three year follow-up period (N = 2584). To determine if risk of re-offending had a significant impact on reconviction rates, analyses were conducted controlling for ethnicity and risk, and controlling for ethnicity only. No significant differences were found in the results when controlling for risk. Overall, there were no significant differences between the collapsed gang grouping and the matched group with respect to reconvictions (χ² (1, N = 2584) = 2.24, p = 0.13). However, certain types of gang-affiliates were more likely to be reconvicted than their matched counterparts. Asian and street gang affiliates in specific were more likely to be reconvicted upon release.

Although there were no significant differences between gang affiliates and non-affiliates with respect to general reconviction, significant differences were found to exist for specific reconviction types. Overall, gang affiliates were significantly more likely to commit new drug trafficking offences and commit a new crime that involved the use of a weapon than non-affiliated offenders (see Table 13). These results are consistent with the affiliate-associated offending patterns identified at admission. Gang affiliates were significantly less likely to return with a new sex offence. This was not surprising given earlier findings showing this group less likely to be sex offenders.

Differences in reconvictions were likewise examined between affiliates and non-affiliates for specific gang types. Motorcycle gang affiliates were significantly more likely than non-affiliates to return with a new weapons offense, as were street gangs. Street gang affiliates were also significantly more likely to return with a drug trafficking offense. Traditional gang affiliates were significantly more likely than non-affiliates to be reconvicted with a drug trafficking offense.

 

Table 13: Reconviction Types for Affiliates and Non-Affiliates

Reconviction

Gang Type

 

All Gangs

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.25

54

4.5

4.1

Robbery

1.96

133

11.0

12.8

Sexual Assault*

5.86

30

2.5

4.2

Drug Trafficking***

17.71

110

9.1

4.9

Drug Possession

0.58

135

11.1

12.1

Weapons***

32.07

216

17.8

10.1

 

 

Asian

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

3.10

7

8.9

2.9

Robbery

0.35

7

8.9

11.5

Sexual Assault

1.54

0

0.0

1.9

Drug Trafficking

0.63

2

2.5

4.8

Drug Possession

0.10

13

16.5

18.3

Weapons

1.91

13

16.5

9.6

 

 

Motorcycle

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.76

27

4.7

3.7

Robbery

0.22

74

12.9

13.8

Sexual Assault

0.23

20

3.5

4.0

Drug Trafficking

3.48

48

8.3

5.6

Drug Possession

0.21

58

10.1

10.9

Weapons***

21.31

105

18.2

9.1

 

 

Prison

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.16

2

5.6

7.9

Robbery

0.01

5

13.9

13.2

Sexual Assault

1.76

1

2.8

10.5

Drug Trafficking

0.96

0

0.0

2.6

Drug Possession

0.22

4

11.1

7.9

Weapons

1.86

8

22.2

10.5

 

Street

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

1.64

10

3.7

5.9

Robbery

0.43

27

9.9

11.5

Sexual Assault

3.60

8

2.9

6.2

Drug Trafficking**

10.16

27

9.9

3.6

Drug Possession

0.01

32

11.7

11.5

Weapons**

9.30

54

19.8

11.0

 

 

Traditional

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Homicide

0.31

8

3.2

2.4

Robbery

2.55

20

8.1

12.4

Sexual Assault

2.67

1

0.4

2.0

Drug Trafficking**

9.76

33

13.3

5.2

Drug Possession

0.83

28

11.3

14.0

Weapons

0.93

36

14.5

11.6

Note: df for each test = 1. *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

 

Special Conditions

The report also examined the special conditions which gang affiliates received upon release, comparing them to those received by their non-affiliated counterparts. Results of these analyses are summarized in Table 14. Overall, gang affiliates were significantly more likely to receive special conditions instructing them to avoid certain places and persons. Gang affiliates were likewise significantly more likely to be restricted from living in certain areas and to receive “other” conditions. Gang affiliates were significantly less likely than non-affiliates to be required to receive counseling as a special condition, to follow a treatment plan, and to abstain from drugs and alcohol.

An examination of individual gang types found that ‘avoiding certain persons’ was the most frequently specified special condition among all gang types except for prison gangs, which most frequently received the order to abstain from intoxication. Although avoiding certain persons was a condition frequently specified to gang-affiliates, only motorcycle and traditional gang affiliates differed significantly from their comparison groups in the amount this condition was given. Motorcycle, street, and traditional gang affiliates were more likely to receive conditions requiring them avoid certain places, while Asian and street gang affiliates were more likely to receive conditions to abstain from intoxication than their non-affiliate counterparts. Finally, street gangs were more likely to be ordered to reside at a specific place and traditional gangs were more likely to receive a condition of “other” than non-affiliate offenders.

 

Table 14: Special Conditions Upon Release for Affiliates and Non-Affiliates

Special Condition

Gang Type

 

All Gangs

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Report to Police

1.13

3

0.2

0.1

Counseling***

40.83

86

4.4

9.6

Abstain from Driving*

5.05

1

0.1

0.5

Abstain from Gambling

1.39

5

0.3

0.6

Abstain from Drugs***

33.18

133

7.9

14.0

Abstain from Intoxication

0.09

434

25.7

26.2

Avoid Certain Places***

95.61

323

19.1

7.9

Avoid Certain Persons***

125.58

893

52.9

34.1

Abstain from Alcohol***

70.59

79

4.7

12.8

Reside At Specific Place**

9.05

162

9.6

6.8

Follow Treatment Plan***

98.35

205

12.1

25.3

Other**

7.66

241

14.3

11.2

 

 

Asian

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Report to Police

-

0

0.0

0.0

Counseling**

7.01

5

3.0

10.2

Abstain from Driving*

0.94

0

0.0

0.7

Abstain from Gambling

2.53

2

1.4

4.6

Abstain from Drugs

2.12

12

8.4

13.7

Abstain from Intoxication*

6.32

43

30.1

17.8

Avoid Certain Places

0.15

9

6.3

5.2

Avoid Certain Persons

1.15

79

55.2

49.0

Abstain from Alcohol**

8.60

3

2.1

10.5

Reside At Specific Place

1.37

17

11.9

7.8

Follow Treatment Plan*

5.11

26

18.2

29.4

Other

2.84

28

19.6

12.4

 

 

Motorcycle

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Report to Police

2.10

2

0.3

0.0

Counseling***

19.49

47

5.2

10.8

Abstain from Driving*

4.77

0

0.0

0.6

Abstain from Gambling

0.00

1

0.1

0.1

Abstain from Drugs***

11.52

72

9.1

14.5

Abstain from Intoxication**

6.67

175

22.1

27.6

Avoid Certain Places***

73.50

207

26.1

9.8

Avoid Certain Persons***

88.21

424

53.5

30.5

Abstain from Alcohol***

36.33

38

4.8

13.5

Reside At Specific Place

3.11

72

9.1

6.7

Follow Treatment Plan***

38.42

97

12.2

24.1

Other

1.82

109

13.8

11.5

 

 

Prison

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Report to Police

-

0

0.0

0.0

Counseling

0.54

3

5.5

9.1

Abstain from Driving

-

0

0.0

0.0

Abstain from Gambling

-

0

0.0

0.0

Abstain from Drugs

0.17

2

4.1

5.9

Abstain from Intoxication

0.61

23

46.9

39.2

Avoid Certain Places

2.02

4

8.2

2.0

Avoid Certain Persons

1.68

15

30.6

43.1

Abstain from Alcohol

0.17

2

4.1

5.9

Reside At Specific Place

3.22

3

6.1

0.0

Follow Treatment Plan

0.36

4

8.2

11.8

Other

0.48

7

14.3

9.8

 

 

Street

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Report to Police

-

0

0.0

0.0

Counseling*

4.08

23

4.8

8.0

Abstain from Driving

0.91

0

0.0

0.2

Abstain from Gambling

0.91

0

0.0

0.2

Abstain from Drugs*

5.47

38

9.5

14.8

Abstain from Intoxication***

25.10

160

40.1

24.0

Avoid Certain Places**

7.30

37

9.3

4.6

Avoid Certain Persons

3.02

172

43.1

37.2

Abstain from Alcohol**

7.78

30

7.5

13.5

Reside At Specific Place**

8.41

51

12.8

6.9

Follow Treatment Plan***

25.63

57

14.3

28.8

Other

0.24

49

12.3

11.2

 

 

Traditional

 

χ²

N

Affiliated
%

Non-
Affiliated
%

Report to Police

0.00

1

0.3

0.3

Counseling***

13.21

8

2.3

8.6

Abstain from Driving

0.00

1

0.3

0.3

Abstain from Gambling

0.38

2

0.7

0.3

Abstain from Drugs***

20.74

9

3.0

12.9

Abstain from Intoxication***

27.19

33

10.9

27.4

Avoid Certain Places***

17.95

66

21.7

9.4

Avoid Certain Persons***

81.90

203

66.8

30.5

Abstain from Alcohol***

24.52

6

2.0

12.3

Reside At Specific Place

0.41

19

6.3

7.6

Follow Treatment Plan***

34.10

21

6.9

23.9

Other*

5.12

48

15.8

9.8

Note: df for each test = 1. *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.

 

DISCUSSION

This study aimed to provide the CSC with information regarding the trends, profiles, operational impacts and outcome upon release for federally sentenced offenders identified as being affiliated with an organized crime group. Yearly incarceration rates for gang affiliates suggest recent increases in gang-related activity in Canada (from 2000 to 2002), particularly for motorcycle and traditional gang affiliates. These elevated incarceration rates may be attributed to law enforcement initiatives that focused on destabilizing the motorcycle gang rivalry in Quebec over the same time period along with the success of initiatives that target offences particular to that group. Specifically, the increase in traditional gang affiliate incarcerations from 2000 onward corresponds to the creation of Canada’s financial intelligence unit (FINTRAC), which supports the investigation and prosecution of money laundering offences.

Over time, there has been an increase in the proportion of the federally incarcerated population affiliated with an organized crime group. This increase could be attributed to organized crime policy initiatives as well as to the cumulative effect of longer sentences and less parole opportunities for gang affiliated offenders. Geographic profiles of incarcerated gang affiliate activity confirmed prior research on organized crime in general by Criminal Intelligence Services Canada (CISC) which found that motorcycle gangs tended to be present in urban areas in Central and Atlantic Canada, Asian gangs tended to be active in the Pacific and Ontario regions (and increasingly in Quebec), and Traditional gangs were most likely to be present in urban Quebec (CISC, 2003).

In general, the report found that gang affiliated offenders were younger at time of admission and were given longer sentences than their matched counterparts. This heavy-handed approach to gang affiliate sentences corresponds to recent initiatives (such as the 2002 Criminal Code amendments) to impede organized crime. Gang affiliates were likewise more likely to be convicted of drug related charges (possession and trafficking) and weapons charges, which is consistent with CISC reports illustrating that drug and weapons trafficking are two of the most common activities in which gangs partake (CISC, 2003). Incarcerated gang affiliates were more likely to be rated as being a higher risk to re-offend and having low reintegration potential and low motivation levels. They were more likely to have dynamic needs in the areas of associates and criminal attitudes and were more likely to have youth court convictions. These results reflect the typical gang lifestyle. Research has found that gang affiliates are recruited at young ages and remain involved throughout their lifespan. They are not likely to leave the gang and reintegrate into “normal” society, nor are they motivated to do so. Their friends and associates are other gang affiliates who share similar criminal attitudes (Kenney & Finckenauer, 1995).

The report also identified several differences between gang affiliate types that suggest unique offender profiles rooted in gang grouping. Specifically, in comparison to their matched counterparts, offenders affiliated with a traditional organized crime group were older at admission, less likely to have a history of youth or adult court involvements, generally rated better on both static and dynamic risk ratings, and were more likely to be serving longer sentences for drug related convictions. This suggests that gang affiliation provided these offenders with a level of stability in these need areas. In contrast, street and prison gang affiliates were younger at time of admission, more likely to have had a history of violence and youth and/or adult court involvements, generally rated more poorly on overall static and dynamic risk ratings, and were more likely to be serving current sentences for violent offences. Motorcycle gang affiliates seemed to fall somewhere in between these two profiles, being younger at admission, more likely to have previous adult court involvements, and more likely to be serving a current sentence for a violent and/or drug trafficking related offense. There was less consistency in differences between Asian gang affiliates and their matched counterparts, suggesting further research is needed on this particular demographic of the federal offender population.

Differences between gang affiliate types suggest that varying approaches are required in terms of institutional and community initiatives to prevent and deal with gang affiliation. The unique profiles of street and prison gang affiliates, including an increased likelihood of violent offences, suggest that the motivation behind the criminal activities engaged in by these groups is different than for other organized crime groups. Indeed, organized crime literature points out that street gang activity differs from other organized crime activity in its “sudden, often inexplicable, and brutal eruptions of violence (pg. 286), its political and social rather than financial motivation, and its lack of sophistication (Kenney & Finckenauer, 1995).

It was hypothesized that the implications of a growing proportion of organized crime affiliates in institutions would be related to an increase in inmates with violent and drug trafficking offences and an associated increase in assaults and drug seizures within the institutions. Preliminary analyses suggested that the presence of gang affiliates in institutions was related to several types of incidents, most prominently assaults on staff. However, this relationship was stronger for certain types of affiliates. The presence of street, motorcycle, and Asian gang affiliates was most likely to be associated with assaults on staff, while the presence of traditional and prison gang affiliates was most likely to be associated with narcotics related seizures.

An examination of the extent to which gang affiliates were directly involved in institutional incidents found that when compared to their non-affiliate matched counterparts, gang affiliates were more likely to be involved in assaults on inmates and staff and in narcotics seizures. However, an examination of involvement by gang type showed that traditional gangs were less likely to be involved in any of the incidents examined, but street and prison gangs were more likely to be involved in all of the incidents. From this, it would appear that gang affiliates not only take an active involvement in criminal activities in the institutions, but they also influence, or perhaps coerce, others into participating in their activities of interest.

The finding that street and prison gang affiliates were more likely to be directly involved in all institutional incidents and traditional gang affiliates were less likely to be directly involved in any institutional incidents corresponds to earlier findings illustrating that street and prison gangs were more likely to be convicted of violent offences while traditional gangs were more likely to be convicted of non-violent drug trafficking offences. These results suggest that institutionalization does not necessarily prevent gang affiliates from continuing in their gang activities.

Results also revealed that the implications of gang affiliate presence in institutions varied as a function of security level. Gang affiliate presence in general was not related to institutional incidents in minimum security institutions, however narcotics seizures were related to the presence of each gang type. Gang affiliate presence in general had a significant impact on incidents in medium and maximum security institutions. These results are not surprising considering the most active and influential gang affiliates would have been placed in a higher security classification, however the operational impact of gang affiliate presence is evident. In maximum security institutions, the presence of gang affiliates was significantly related to assaults on staff for four of the five types of gang affiliates (motorcycle, prison, street, and traditional). The threat of assault would make it extremely difficult for any correctional service worker to effectively complete their daily tasks. These results would suggest that efforts at lower security level institutions should focus on controlling the relationship between drug seizures and gang affiliated inmates as well as the influence these groups have on other inmates. Similarly, the focus at higher security-level institutions might be to decrease the influence of gang affiliates over other inmates in some way while fostering the relationship between gang affiliates and correctional service workers.

Also of interest in this report was the outcome upon release for gang affiliated offenders. When gang affiliates were released from prison, they were more likely than non-affiliates to receive special conditions which would make gang-related activities difficult to carry out, including the specification to avoid certain places and people and to live in a certain area. As this report found, gang types are likely to be located in certain parts of Canada, and gang activity involves association with other gang affiliates. With these special conditions in mind, no overall differences were found between gang affiliates and non-affiliates when it came to examining reconvictions. However, particular gang groups (Asian and street gangs) were more likely to be reconvicted of another offence. Additionally, those gang affiliates that were reconvicted were more likely to be convicted of offenses similar to those which they were originally incarcerated for: gang related offences. These results would indicate that incarceration may not have met the needs of gang affiliates, and that upon release, many continue to be involved in gang related criminal activity.

This study was limited in several capacities. It relied on automated data as a method of identifying those offenders affiliated with an organized crime group. This method may not take into account many elements of organized crime which are typically more concealed. For instance, gathering affiliate data from the Offender Management System (OMS) does not illustrate the level of power which the affiliates possess or their degree of embeddedness (where they are in terms of the gang structure). In addition, analyses examining the indirect relationship between institutional incidents and the presence of gang affiliates should be interpreted with caution. These analyses do not tell us to what extent pressuring of inmates by higher order gang affiliates may be occurring and does not consider other, non gang-related reasons for institutional incidents. As the analyses examining this indirect relationship are based on aggregate data, results may overestimate the true relationship between gang presence and prison incidents (Andrews & Bonta, 2003). Finally, these analyses are based on correlations, which do not allow for the ability to imply causation. Thus, it can not be said through these analyses that gang affiliate presence causes institutional incidents. A more conclusive representation of the relationship between gang affiliates and institutional incidents is found when looking at the direct involvement of gang affiliates in incidents.

In order to ensure that the influence of gang presence and gang activity in the institutions and re-offending rates of gang affiliated offenders is minimized, future research should consider the following:

  • Field research should be conducted in order to collect data on organized crime affiliates and their activities, providing a source of information other than OMS. For example, interviewing former gang members could allow further insight into gang structure, activities, and reasons for desistance.
  • The social dynamics of gang affiliates in the institutions should be examined. Research in this area could look at muscling by gang affiliates as well as social networking among gang types.
  • The programming of gang affiliated offenders should be considered. Research should examine which programs are being recommended for gang affiliates, their success in these programs, and whether these programs meet the needs specific to their gang-type.
  • This report found many differences among gang types, thus future research should examine specific gang types in more detail in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of particular gang dynamics.
  • The formation of a multi-disciplinary national or international panel of experts in the area of gangs and organized crime to brainstorm operational strategies and best practices for addressing gang affiliates in institutions.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, intervention strategies should address the negative attitudes of affiliated offenders, and encourage disassociation from the identified criminal group. Interventions should be tailored along gang type to accommodate the varying needs and dynamics of each. Results showed gang affiliates were significantly less likely to have identified needs in the areas of employment, family/marital relations, substance abuse, community functioning and personal/emotional orientation. It is possible that those without needs in those areas are more likely to become affiliated with a gang. Alternatively, perhaps ‘affiliation’ augments deficiencies in these need areas. If this is the case, then alternative non-criminogenic sources that address those needs should be identified for this group. Gang strategies should also be directed towards violent criminal behavior, particularly for the motorcycle, street and prison gang affiliates. As these groups are also more likely to have previous youth and/or adult court involvement, intervention strategies should also be initiated at the first indications of involvement in an organized criminal group.

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