Security Threat Groups

Security Threat Groups

A rule in prisons, though I know it has become more of an issue in all schools, is “no touching is the best policy.” All inmates realize it is a prison rule, and it can lead to a write-up for them. They cannot touch any of the staff.

Occasionally, I have given a professional handshake. When a man is on his way to be released, and he is thanking me for helping him pass his GED, or he is thanking me for being his teacher or coming to say goodbye, I will shake his hand.

No one wants to do anything that could be misconstrued as a battery or some kind of sexual proposal, so we don’t want to touch.

Drawing, sketching, or doodling in class seems relatively benign but is another discipline issue. It may seem to be a distraction when students are supposed to study. But they often work on “gang” symbols or designing tattoos. So, it needs to be stopped.

Gangs” is a term we don’t really use anymore. We call them S.T.G.’s. I always thought that sounded like a sexual disease, but it stands for “Security Threat Groups.” Gangs are out. Security Threat Groups are in.

There is much to learn about gangs, but I will not address it at length here because it is a security issue. We don’t publicize a lot of what we know. I advise you to keep up with what is going on in your neighborhood gangs to recognize the signs of a gang in your classroom or your school. Gangs exist everywhere, whether anyone admits it or not.

The symbols they draw, how they wear their clothes, and the hand signs they “throw” change constantly. Whatever I might write today about S.T.G. will be different by the time this book is published.

You will be trained and updated about gangs in any prison or jail you teach. And you will have seminars in your schools to keep you updated on gangs. You should always try not to ignore that Security Threat Groups exist; trust me, they exist.

Janice M. Chamberlin, a licensed prison educator in Indiana, is the author of Locked Up With Success. In her book, Ms. Chamberlin shares stories of the challenges she has faced and the triumphs she has seen in the prison classroom setting. She has successfully developed a system that can unlock potential even in the highest-risk students.