ASSOCIATED PRESS: A new report shows the notorious Bloods street gang has a firm grip on the New Jersey prison system. The State Commission of Investigation report released today shows the Bloods and other street gangs run their crime operations from inside prisons with ease. The report shows drugs and smuggled cell phones are plentiful. The panel calls for statewide reforms, including better security inside prisons and stronger management of inmates’ money. The commission says inmates who want to take advantage of rehabilitation services and re-entry programs deserve protection against gang violence. MORE
PREVIOUSLY ON PHAWKER: Last summer a former client of mine got locked up. He was a longtime streetwise hustler and drug addict who had spent a number of years clean and getting his life together. He relapsed on heroin and crack and within weeks was locked up on a possession charge. When the police ran his name through the system, an old warrant from when he got arrested in Trenton decades ago popped up (“No joke,” he told me, “this warrant was for stealing somebody’s Betamax, it was that old”). He was shipped over to Jersey for a stay in the Mercer County jail. What he saw there terrified him.
“It’s all Crips and Bloods in there,” he told me, “and they’re wild, man, wild. Packs of these young boys are runnin’ the jail, 18-19 year olds, and the second I got there they were up in my face, ‘What gang you wit’?’ I was scared for my life the whole time. They all had weapons, it was like everyone but me had a shank. I never slept for more than 20 minutes, walked around with magazines taped around my chest for protection, the whole nine. It was ready to pop off any second with all these gang kids roamin’ around.” MORE