Introduction to Gangs

Introduction to Gangs 

The Gang Threat Assessment published by the National Gang Intelligence Center in 2011 indicated that in the United States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, there are an estimated 33,000 active street, prison, and outlaw motorcycle gangs with more than 1.4 million members. The Center also states that gangs are responsible for 48% of violent crime in some jurisdictions and up to 90% in others. This course will provide staff working directly with justice-involved individuals in jails, prisons, and on community supervision in both adult and juvenile justice sectors with a brief introduction to gangs, including the common features of a gang, indicators of gang membership, and risk and protective factors of gang membership. You will also learn about different types of gangs and key differences and relationships between prison and street gangs.


Hours: 1.75


Certificates provided by accrediting body (3 Match)

American Jail Association Certification

1.75 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.75 contact hours.

American Probation and Parole Association

1.75 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.75 contact hours.

California Board of State and Community Corrections

1.75 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.75 STC credit hours.

Course Details

Hours: 1.75
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 10/1/2024
Learning Objectives:
Describe 4 common features of gangs.
List 6 common indicators of gang membership.
Identify 5 reasons people join gangs and explain up to 10 individual, family, school, peer group, and community risk factors linked to juvenile gang involvement.
Discuss 7 components of gang organization and list up to 5 types of gangs.
Identify 5 differences between street and prison gangs.

Introduction to Gangs

Section 1: Introduction

About This Course

Learning Objectives

Section 2: Overview

Defining a Gang

Common Features of a Gang

Other Terms

Common Indicators of Gang Membership

Correlates of Gang Membership

Validating a Gang Member



Section 3: Joining the Gang

Pulled or Pushed

Reasons Why People Join

Risk Factors

Adolescent Brain Development

Protective Factors



Section 4: Gang Organization &Types of Gangs

Components of Gang Organization

Internal organization



Perpetrators and Victims


Gang Finances

Public Relations

Alliances and Rivalries

Types of Gangs

Street Gangs

Prison Gangs

Similarities and Differences of Prison and Street Gangs

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

Hybrid Gangs

Female Gangs



Section 5: Conclusion


Course Contributors



Expert Reviewer: Richard Harris
Richard Harris is the Safety and Security Administrator for the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau of the District Court and a Tulsa Police Officer. He has been working with youth in gangs for over twenty years. Richard has been a member of the Tulsa Rea Gang Taskforce (TARGET group) since 2004 and an executive board member and trainer for the Oklahoma Gang Investigator's Association since 2006. Disclosure: Richard Harris has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, MS
Mrs. Cobb is a Lead SME Writer/Trainer at Relias. Her primary writing responsibilities are in the Health and Human Services vertical, in the content areas of public safety and behavioral health. Mrs. Cobb is also the onboarding trainer for new Relias staff joining the Content Department. Mrs. Cobb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. She has over 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. Her work includes direct service, research, and training and technical assistance. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky. Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, MS has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.