Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Criminal Extortion

This is all the prompting I need to do a little self-promotion. At the PCS meetings, I presented my paper on Criminal Extortion where I attempt to explain how fewer than 300 members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang can systematically extort approximately 80,000 street gang members. Prison gangs extort “gang taxes” from criminals on the street because they can send a clear and credible signal of punishment: if a criminal refuses to pay gang taxes then the prison gang will assault or murder him when he goes to prison at some time in the future. Successful prison-based extortion depends on inmates’ ability to establish power in prison, the characteristics of the victim, and the nature of the illegal activity, if any, conducted by the extortion victim. The paper provides evidence by examining the gang's written constitution, law enforcement documents, and information provided by former gang members-turned informants.

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