The History of White Power Prison Gangs

The lifestyle that white supremacists commit themselves too can often be one that leads down avenues of crime and maliciousness that will more often than not land an individual in a federal penitentiary. Once within the walls of a penitentiary, decisions must be made in order to survive in this environment. This is where prison gangs play a large part in the protection and survival of inmates in prison.  Prison is a very racially fueled environment in which without being associated with the proper group, one’s life hangs in the balance of various racially inclined gangs. While there are many different gangs throughout the prison system of America, there are several white nationalist gangs large enough to be acknowledged as a threat to prison security and order. There are smaller factions of white supremacist groups but for the purpose of this blog I will divulge the history and operations of a couple of more well known white supremacist prison gangs.

For starters, the Aryan Brotherhood is the largest, older, and most well known white supremacist prison gang in American today. Founded in 1964 by Barry Mills and Tyler Bingham in San Quentin State Prison, the organization was formed as a way to protect white inmates from violent African American inmates (source).

Founders of the Aryan Brotherhood

Today the gang has grown to over 30,000 in size and is known as one of the most violent white supremacist groups out there. Since the protection of inmates can come at a price, the gang has since moved on to criminal enterprise such as drug tracking and controlling male prostitution. According to one high ranking official in the gang, “Racial Warfare comes second to business” (source). The Aryan Brotherhood still runs strong today and is currently responsible for over 100 murder being investigated by the DEA, ATF, and FBI (source)

Aryan Circle Ensignia

Moving on to another well known white supremacist organization behind bars, the Aryan Circle was founded more on ideology of white supremacy. Mark Gaspardin founded the gang in 1985 in an Oklahoma prison. Being a white supremacist himself he formed the organization in order to “encourage white man and women to stay faithful to their Aryan race and to reject all other ethnic people from within their white family circle” (source). Seemingly having more structure in white supremacist thinking, Gaspardin formed a set of eight main beliefs in which dictated how all members should conduct themselves. Furthermore Gaspardin gain many more followers through his bi-monthly white supremacist discourse “The Circular”. Another large part of recruitment for the Aryan Circle is members of the Aryan Brotherhood who left the brotherhood to find a more holistic belief in white supremacy. Gaspardin also preyed on white convicts who know little of their cultural heritage. While offering protection, he gained membership through “educating” others on the history of Aryan descent and the poisoning of the white race. (source)

White supremacist groups are as present inside of the walls of a penitentiary as they are out in the free world. They hold the same ideals but tend to more oriented towards violence and often lose sight of their original white supremacist ideologies. While the prison system battles gangs such as these, their numbers are ever-growing in our overcrowded justice system.

About White Power Prison Gangs

Senior Psychology major creating a blog for my Cultural Ethnic Studies class about white power movements
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One Response to The History of White Power Prison Gangs

  1. djlwsu says:

    One big question is are these gangs a product of “prison culture” or are they an outgrowth of white supremacist movements outside of the prisons? What is the relationship between those on the inside and those on the outside? What is larger history here?

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