When sentenced to CYA, street gang members usually form alliances with similar types of gang members--with the exception of Hispanic gangs. Hispanic gang members have split their allegiance and developed two factions: the Nortenos (Northern California) a nd the Surenos (Southern California). They remain separated on the streets as well as when incarcerated.
Many of the gang members in CYA have criminal associates in CDC. These associations breed alignments between certain gangs and lead to street gang members eventually becoming prison gang members when sentenced to CDC.
In CDC, Hispanic gang members usually join the Mexican) Mafia, Nuestra Familia, or the Northern Structure prison gang. Some African American gang members join the Black Guerrilla Family, while others have formed smaller clusters of Crips or Bloods, which are referred to by CDC officials as "disruptive groups." White gang members generally join the Aryan Brotherhood (AB); although lately, there has been no active recruitment of gang members by the AB. There are no known Asian prison gangs.
Most prison gang activity is contained within the prison. A recent exception, which may be the beginning of a trend, is the indictment of 21 Nuestra Familia and Northern Structure members by the Santa Clara County Grand Jury. They are accused of a wider anging conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, robbery, arson, firearm offenses, and other felony crimes--as well as intimidation of witnesses and the distribution of narcotics for the purpose of establishing and promoting the Nuestra Familia and the Nort hern Structure as a profitable, powerful, and continuing criminal enterprise. All of the indictees are also accused of participating in street gang activities. Thirteen are charged with murder and could face the death penalty. The others face life in p rison without the possibility of parole. Thirty-nine others are named as unindicted co-conspirators.
When released from CYA and CDC, gang members often return to their former street gang but will retain some allegiance to the prison gang. A few prison gangs have influence on street gangs outside CDC. The Mexican Mafia has influence over Hispanic gangs such as the El Monte Flores and the Hazard Street gangs in East Los Angeles. The Mexican Mafia is feared, yet admired, by many Hispanic gang members who equate membership in the prison gang as "being in the major leagues"--the epitome of gang life. Stre et gang members in a prison gang have bestowed prestige on their street gang, and street gang members often commit crimes in support of their prison gang affiliations.