The article that I chose to review was published by the Los Angeles Times and is titled “Prison gang trial reveals a treacherous world”. This article concerns a “federal charge that Robert “Blinky” Griffin, 58, and John “Youngster” Stinson, 52, ordered a series of murders in an effort to create a more powerful, disciplined criminal organization and to expand drug and extortion rackets” (Mozingo 2006). Stimson has been serving a life long sentence since for the murder a black man in Long Beach California, and Griffin has been serving since 1970 for robbery and additionally stabbing an inmate in eyeball. They are both considered highly dangerous and as such have been held in the most secure wing of Pelican Bay Prison. They are only allowed 1 hour outside of solitary confinement and are completely cutoff from human contact with any other inmate. This new trial has stemmed out of an October trial in 2002 in order to bring down the gang’s leaders and stop the drug trafficking and murders that are allegedly ordered from top gang officials from inside Pelican Bay or San Quentin Correctional Facility.
This article focuses on the lack of respect for human life within the Aryan Brotherhood. All of the men put on the stand all claim they kill because they are ordered to kill and they follow orders without any thought of the repercussions. The article highlights the physical attributes of the members of the brotherhood and the looks of terror on the jurors faces as these men tell brutal murder stories without any signs of sympathy. Another main argument for the prosecution was the Pelican Bay guards finding of notes written between Brotherhood members concerning the upcoming war with the Mexican Mafia, and The Crypts both prominent gangs in the Southern California region and in correctional facilities. Gang related violence has been escalating in and outside of prison and community members are looking to the justice system to put a stop to all the gang related violence. Clearly the AB is still a powerful gang and with the increase of drug trafficking from Mexico, gang violence is at a high point. The public is concerned for the safety of their children and themselves, and are also losing faith in correctional facilities ability to maintain peace.
The problem that arises in these type of trials comes down to the witnesses that are put on the stand. Every person that was put on the stand was either a prison inmate, or a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Both of these types of individuals share the same ideology when it comes to “snitching” and understand that in prison if you are caught revealing information, you will pay for it with your life. The jury had a very hard time deciding on punishments as the majority of the men called to testify are already serving life sentences without parole or are housed in the maximum security wing. Additionally, all the men that testified refused to indict any superior members and would simply state that if the order to kill a man was given, they were happy to do their part. The focus of this article was to point out the hardships to controlling prison gang violence. The public is clearly worried and it appears that the only lasting punishment that has the ability to put a stop the increasing amount of murders is death row. However, as we all know the concept of Death Row is under constant scrutiny. The process is long winded and ends up costing the tax payers more than they are willing to pay. Clearly, a solution needs to be identified soon or the violence and drug/human trafficking will continue to terrorize innocent bystanders.
Article Retrieved from
Mozingo, J. (2006, December 30). Prison gang reveals a treacherous world. Los Angeles Times, pp. 1-2. . Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2006/dec/30/local/me-aryan30