Are your loved ones getting in with the wrong crowd in prison? Here’s everything you need to know about prison gangs. You think that gangs are only one the outside of jail, but that is not true. There are many prison gangs that operate on the inside.

Here’s everything you will need to know from what a prison gang is to what are the various types of gangs you may find housed in the prison.

What Is a Prison Gangs?

You are probably wondering what are gangs in prison, is it different than a normal outside gang? In short, yes.

A prison gang is a group of inmates that operates as an organization behind bars, also known as a prison architect gang. The gang has a corporate-like entity.  The membership of these prison gangs is very exclusive to the people in them. It’s nearly impossible to get into a gang. Once in the gang, you are bound by a lifetime commitment.

Types of Prison Gangs

For the sake of this article, since there are so MANY prison gangs, we are going to categorize them by race. This will be easier for you to navigate through them then have them all lumped together.


There are quite a few Hispanic prison gangs out there in the system currently.

Mexican Mafia

La EmeMexican Mafia is also known as La Eme.

The Mexican Mafia is primarily made up of Hispanics. Don’t be fooled there are some Caucasian members also. It’s not an exclusive Mexican prison gang.

You will want to know that the Mexican Mafia is allied with the Aryan Brotherhood. They typically will work together. They want to control the weapons, putting “hits” out, prostitution, and drug running.

The Mexican Mafia was founded in California prisons in the 1950s by a few Hispanic prisoners.  It is just one of the many California prison gangs. It wasn’t until the 1970s and the 1980s that the Mexican Mafia established their model for leveraging their power within the prison system and profit from the illegal activity on the street.

Nuestra Familia

Nuestra FamiliaThe Nuestra Familia means family in Spanish.

The Nuestra Familia uses the letter “N” as their symbol beside the Roman numeral “XIV” to represent their organization.

Again, the Nuestra Familia is another Hispanic gang. Nuestra Familia is nearly always at war with the Mexican Mafia.

This gang was originally formed in the northern side of California. However, they are also in the rural-based Hispanic prisons as well.

The Gang was first originated in the Soledad prison located in California in the 1960s.

Texas Syndicate

Texas SyndicateThe Texas Syndicated is typically based out of Texas. This was an original Texas-based prison gang.

Of course, this was a majority Hispanic gang, but they very rarely allow Caucasian people to join as well.

In this Texas prison gangs, they are allies with many Mexican immigrant prisoners. This is unlike the Mexican Mafia and the Nuestra Familia that mainly with raised Hispanics and US-born individuals.


ÑetasNetas is yet another Hispanic gang. Netas mainly consists of Puerto Ricans though.

Netas is typically found in Puerto Rico and the east coast of the United States. This gang was founded back in 1970 in Rio Piedras State Penitentiary located in Puerto Rico.

Don’t be fooled the Netas is one of the most dominant and largest gangs that control the illegal drug trade in Puerto Rico’s prison system.

Latin Kings

Latin KingsThe Latin Kings are also known as the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation.

They are one of the largest and oldest Latino and the Hispanic street gang in the entire world. This gang dates to 1954 in Chicago, Illinois.

Texas Chicano Brotherhood

Texas Chicano BrotherhoodGilberto Villarreal founded the Texas Chicano Brotherhood in Hidalgo County in 1994.

The Texas Chicano Brotherhood adopted the same rules about blood in and blood out regulation.

You will want to know that the Mexikanemi and the Texas Syndicate will NOT allow the Texas Chicano Brotherhood to recruit for their gangs within the Texas prison system.

Border Brothers

Border BrothersIn 1989, the Border Brothers were founded by Sergio Gonzalez-Martinez in Tijuana, Mexico.

In 1990, this Mexican gang spread over to California and started recruiting for illegal immigrants in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The gang is rivals with Mara Salvatrucha.

Tri-City Bombers

Tri-City PoppersThe Tri-City Bombers (TCB gang) was once known as the Tri-City Poppers. This gang was started as a clique for young break dancers. However, it quickly turned into a gang back in the early 1990s.

New Mexico Syndicate

New Mexico SyndicateThe New Mexico Syndicate is another Hispanic prison gang. They originated back in the 1980s. While it is nearly identical to the Texas Syndicate gang, they operate out of New Mexico.

African American

Next up is the African American prison gangs or also known as the black prison gangs.

You will want to keep in mind that the majority of the African American prison gangs will keep their street gang names along with their associations.

This is typically common for Rollin’ sets that can either be identified as Crip or Blood affiliations.

However, you will want to keep in mind that the only exception is the Black Guerilla Family. As this was originally a politically based group that has a huge following in prison along with prison politics.

United Blood Nation

United Blood NationThe United Blood is often referred to as the East Coast Bloods. The gang is very active in the New York metropolitan area.

The gangs’ main source of income is trafficking and selling illegal drugs.

The members of the United Blood Nation are mainly African American males. However, they do some Hispanic, Asian and Caucasian members as well.

There are some sets that may allow female members as well, but there are not many.

Folk Nation

Folk NationThe Folk Nation is also known as the Folk. They are an alliance of American street gangs that originated from the Chicago area back in 1978.

The Folk Nation has spread throughout the United States. They seem to be common in the Midwest United States.

Keep in mind that the Folk Nation is rivals to the People Nation.

The Folk Nation major sets are the following:

  • Black Gangster Disciples
  • Two Sixers
  • Black Disciples
  • Spanish Gangster Disciples
  • Gangster Disciples
  • Spanish Cobras
  • Imperial Gangsters
  • Simon City Royals
  • International Posse
  • Maniac Latin Disciples
  • La Raza
  • Latin Eagles
  • Latin Disciples

People Nation

People NationThe People Nation was formed by the reaction of others when the Folk Nation come to the streets. It started in 1978 by El Rukns, Latin Kings, and Vice Lords. They decided to form an alliance within their own and called it the “People”.

The alliance was originated in the Chicago area. They are rivals to the Folk Nation.

Some major component gangs are:

  • Mickey Cobras
  • Vice Lords
  • Black P. Stones
  • Gaylords
  • Latin Kings
  • Latin Counts

D.C. Blacks

The D.C. Blacks is a mainly African American prison gang within the United States. Their members typically are from Washington D.C.

They are allies with the Black Guerilla Family and a few other black prison gangs. However, the Aryan Brotherhood is one of their all-time rivals.

Conservative Vice Lords

Vice LordsThe Conservative Vice Lords is also known as the Almighty Vice Lord Nation. It is the second largest gang among one of the oldest street gangs within Chicago, Illinois.

The gang is between 30,000 up to 35,000 strong. It was also one of the founding members when it came to the People Nation multi-gang alliance.

Mandingo Warriors

Mandingo WarriorsIn 1984, the Mandingo Warriors originated. They were originated by a group of blank inmates that wanted to protect themselves from the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, Texas Syndicate, and the Texas Mafia.


CripsIn southern California, the Crips gang originated. The gang was founded in 1969 in Los Angeles, California by Stanley Williams and Raymond Washington.

There are many “sets” when it comes to the Crips. You can tell them apart because they wear blue clothing. Most of the members are African American as well.

They are one of the largest, yet extremely violent gangs in the United States. They have nearly 35,000 members and have been involved in drug dealing, robberies, and even murders.


Next up is the Caucasian prison gangs or also known as the white prison gangs.

Aryan Brotherhood

Aryan BrotherhoodThe Aryan Brotherhood is a white prison gang. They originated from the San Quentin Prison in California back in 1964.

Nazi Lowriders

Nazi LowridersThe Nazi Lowriders is a newer version of the Aryan Brotherhood. They originated after many Aryan Brotherhood gang members ended up in Pelican Bay or they were transferred out to various federal prisons.

Nazi Lowriders are made up of Caucasian, various light-skinned Hispanic individuals.

Public Enemy No. 1

Public Enemy No. 1 is a white prison gang that originated in the southern portion of California. The Public Enemy No. 1 replaced the Nazi Lowriders when it came to hold the “keys” for the well-known Aryan brotherhood.

Dirty White Boys

Dirty White BoysDirty White Boys is another white prison gang. They originated in Texas. They also have a very heavy presence in the federal prison system.

European Kindred

European KindredThe European Kindred is also known as the EK. It is a street and prison gang that originated in the Oregon prison system.

The European Kindred is affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Brotherhood. Their allied are the Volksfront and the Nazi Lowriders.

However, their rivals are the Crips, the Bloods, the American Mafia, the Russian Mafia, the Israeli Mafia, Nortenos, and the Mara Salvatrucha.

Aryan Circle

Aryan CircleThe Aryan Circle is another white prison gang. They are a Neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang that is well-known throughout many of the United States prisons.

Dead Man Incorporated

Dead Man IncorporatedWhile the Dead Man Incorporated is another white prison gang. They originated from the Maryland Correctional System. However, they did branch out too many other correctional facilities within the United States.

Aryan Brotherhood of Texas

Aryan BrotherhoodThe Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is another Neo-Nazi, white supremacist prison gang. This gang is responsible for many murders and many other violent crimes throughout the United States.

Despite sharing their names, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas are NOT affiliated with one another.

In the 1980s, a group of inmates in Texas as the Aryan Brotherhood if they can form a chapter in Texas, their request was denied. However, that did not stop them, they formed this chapter anyway.

Simon City Royals

Simon City RoyalsSimon City Royals is also referred to as the Almighty Simon City Royal Nation. It originated in the late 1950s as a Chicago street gang.

They named themselves after the Simons Park, which was in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

This gang was very organized and was heavily structured. They were actively involved with contraband and dealing with illegal drugs.

White Knights

White KnightsThe White Knights is another white prison gang. They originated in Texas as another white supremacist prison gang. They have been active in Arizona as of recent also.

Closing States on Prison Gangs

While you can see there are not any well-known or any at all Asian prison gangs as there are Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic gangs.

These gangs typically start on the inside of the prison system and can lead to the outside world as well.

Keep in mind, that these gangs will typically carry a lifelong commitment as well.