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Security Threat Group (STG) is a formal or informal group of prison inmates. They are basically the prison gangs. Law enforcement officials use the term Security Threat Group to refer such gangs in order to take away the recognition that the term “gang” connotes. STGs pose threat to the safety of prison officials and other inmates. STGs vary in organization and composition. There are highly structured gangs such as Aryan Brotherhood, and also less formal gangs such as Texas Mafia.
STGs are basically criminal organizations within the U.S. correctional facilities. However, definitions of STG may vary from state to state. According to the STG Policy formulated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections to control increased gang violence in correctional facilities, the term “Security Threat Group” means a group of inmates, designated by the Commissioner, who may gather together regularly and informally. The gang members possess common characteristics, interests and goals distinguishing them from other inmate groups or other inmates. And the group as a discrete entity poses a threat to the safety of the prison staff, other inmates, and the community. They also interrupt the safe, secure and orderly operation of the correctional facilities [Fraise v. Terhune, 283 F.3d 506, 509-510 (3d Cir. 2002)].
Groups within the correctional facilities are categorized as STGs depending upon parameters such as gang history, purpose, involvement in illegal activities, propensity for violence, and its structure and composition. STGs are primarily formed to protect its gang members. But, STGs often involve in illegal activities such as assault, murder, kidnapping, and controlled substance distribution. They also have control and influence over street gangs outside the prison boundaries.