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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the Florida Legislature address the criminal street gang issue?

  • To maintain public order and safety.
  • To respond to the ever increasing crime caused by street gangs that threatens and terrorizes peaceful citizens.
  • To stop this mounting criminal activity.
  • To provide for increased penalties for those found guilty of criminal gang involvement and eliminate the patterns, profits, and property helping criminal street gang activity, including street gang recruitment.

What is a criminal gang?

A formal or informal ongoing organization, association, or group that has as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal or delinquent acts, and that consists of three or more persons who have a common name or common identifying signs, colors, or symbols, including, but not limited to, terrorist organizations and hate groups.

Who is a criminal gang associate?

"Criminal gang associate" means a person who:

  1. Admits to criminal gang association; or
  2. Meets any single defining criterion for criminal gang membership described in subsection (3).

"Criminal gang member" is a person who meets two or more of the following criteria:

  1. Admits to criminal gang membership.
  2. Is identified as a criminal gang member by a parent or guardian.
  3. Is identified as a criminal gang member by a documented reliable informant.
  4. Adopts the style of dress of a criminal gang.
  5. Adopts the use of a hand sign identified as used by a criminal gang.
  6. Has a tattoo identified as used by a criminal gang.
  7. Associates with one or more known criminal gang members.
  8. Is identified as a criminal gang member by an informant of previously untested reliability and such identification is corroborated by independent information.
  9. Is identified as a criminal gang member by physical evidence.
  10. Has been observed in the company of one or more known criminal gang members four or more times. Observation in a custodial setting requires a willful association. It is the intent of the Legislature to allow this criterion to be used to identify gang members who recruit and organize in jails, prisons, and other detention settings.
  11. Has authored any communication indicating responsibility for the commission of any crime by the criminal gang.

When we talk about the gang and security threat group subculture, what are the main gang categories or influences?

The world of gangs and threat groups can become very complex. Knowing this, it helps to divide these groups into some basic categories that will form a firm foundation to learning and understanding. Most gangs or STGs you will encounter will fall into one of these basic categories:

  • Street Gangs
  • Prison Gangs
  • White Supremacy Groups
  • Motorcycle/Biker Gangs
  • Subversive Groups
  • Cult Groups

Why is there a Security Threat Group Management program in the Department of Corrections?

To ensure the safe, secure, and orderly operations for staff, visitors, and inmate/offenders throughout the department by identifying, validating, and certifying STGs and their members and monitoring STG activities.

What is a Security Threat Group (STG)?

Formal or informal ongoing groups, gangs, organization or associations consisting of three or more members who have a common name or common identifying signs, colors, or symbols. A group whose members/associates engage in a pattern of gang activity or department rule violation.

Why do we call them STGs?

To eliminate any recognition these criminals may draw from publicity about their gang or its activities. Also, STG accurately describes how these groups can impact the security of institutional operations.

How does the STG member certification process work?

The STG validation process involves, but is not limited to:

  • Identifying individual gang members, not gangs themselves;
  • Observing behavior;
  • Locating graffiti;
  • Observing scars, marks and tattoos;
  • Noticing certain clothing arrangements; and
  • Gathering information from reliable sources.
Information collected is then assigned a point value through a validation work sheet. When a suspect reaches a certain point value, he/she is certified as either a suspect member or confirmed member based on their accumulated point value.

Can I get information about a specific inmate's gang involvement?

No. Although we are committed to sharing information related to gangs that are active within our state, specific intelligence related to a particular inmate's involvement is confidential and for law enforcement use only. Criminal justice agencies, please contact us for more information.