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Arizona Department of Corrections: Security Threat Group (STG) Program Evaluation, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2001
246 pages
This document provides an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Arizona Department of Correction’s Security Threat Group program in reducing gang activity within prisons.
According to the research contained in this document, prison gang members in Arizona are 74 percent more likely than non-gang inmates to commit serious disciplinary violations. In 1997, the Arizona Department of Corrections instituted the Security Threat Group (STG) Program to minimize the security threat posed by gang activity within prisons. This document offers the results of an evaluation of the STG program. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine (1) whether violations by gang members dropped as a result of isolation, (2) whether violations among the inmate population in general dropped as a result of the STG program, (3) whether violations by renounced gang members dropped as a result of the renouncement process, and (4) the impact that gang membership had on violation rates. The results of the evaluation on these four items were that first, gang members within prisons committed disciplinary violations at a rate of two to three times that of other prisoners. Second, placing gang members in isolation, known as a Special Management Unit, reduced the rates of assault, drug violations, threats, fighting, and rioting by over 50 percent. Third, the STG program provided a general deterrent effect on the rates of assault, drug violations, threat violations, weapons violations, and other violent violations. Finally, among those gang members who renounced their gang membership, some disciplinary violations decreased, but not significantly. The results of this evaluation suggest that the STG program has led to a widespread reduction in the amount of violent and disruptive behavior within the Arizona prison system. The overall impact of the STG program also has a deterrent effect on those inmates who are not involved with prison gangs. In addition to analyzing the results of this program through the use of statistical data, the researchers also collected information through field interviews of prison administrators in 9 prison complexes and 20 prison units. Data from these interviews indicate that prison administrators overwhelmingly support the program and believe it is effective in controlling the prison gang problem. Tables, figures

Date Published: December 1, 2001