Nearly 800 inmates held at Lebanon Correctional Institute are members of prison gangs — the highest number at any of the state’s 28 prisons, according to a new report issued Tuesday on “security threat groups.”
The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee said in its report that 8,171 Ohio inmates, or 16.2 percent, are affiliated with security threat groups such as the Heartless Felons, Gangster Disciples, Aryan Brotherhood and Konvicted Family but that gang membership is down 12.9 percent this year compared with 2012.
Prison gangs are highly organized with membership symbols such as tattoos, codes of conduct, hierarchies, and the capacity to communicate within and between prisons, the report said. To promote power and prestige, they’re engaged in criminal activity such as assaults, thefts, gambling, extortion and trafficking in drugs, tobacco, cell phones and other contraband, the report said.
The majority of the gang members are considered passive while 9 percent are active and 7.7 percent are disruptive, the report found.
Gang membership in the state’s two women’s prisons — Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville and Dayton Correctional Institution — is less than 3 percent of the population.
Gang activity is grounds for transferring an inmate to a higher security prison. As a result, the percentage of inmates in gangs climbs dramatically in the high security prisons: 62.6 percent at the Ohio Penitentiary in Youngstown, 48.5 percent at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville and 42.1 percent at Toledo Correctional.
At Lebanon Correctional, 792 inmates, or 30.6 percent, are considered to be in gangs while at Warren Correctional 449 prisoners, or 32 percent, are in them.
Prison officials classify inmates when they first arrive and monitor them for gang activity during their imprisonment.
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