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Gabe Morales
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Drop-Out Prison Gangs

Drop-Out (D.O.) Gangs have really existed for years. In fact, many prison gangs formed by splitting off from prior groups. The Nuestra Familia formed out of turmoil within the Mexican Mafia. Several NF were EME members or Associates prior to leaving due to EME abuse of fellow Mexicans. Drop-outs from the NF were called “Hermits” as far back as the 1970s. Many Bulldogs broke off from NF. There were at Folsom who were former AB and referred to themselves as “Brand Busters”, a mocking of “The Brand” (AB). The Nazi Low Riders had a rebel faction called “Fuck The Brand” (FTB), who mocked the power of the AB.

As more and more inmates went through the debriefing process and were considered Drop-Outs", they were released to "Soft Yards", or as they are called now in CDCR, "Sensitive Needs Yards". These groups became more formalized over the years. They had more structure, some rules, and a stable leadership.

The Independent Riders (IR) formed in the Riverside County Jail. In the summer of 2005, a group of drop-out gang members and, associates united to form a “Work-Out Group”. The beginning of the gang started at the Robert Presley Detention Center “Old Jail”, Housing Unit #19. This group formed the nucleus of the gang that became Independent Riders. IR members can be of any race. As the gang expanded in numbers, acts of violence began to rise against weaker protective custody inmates with sex crimes. The name “Independent” was derived from a popular skate board company logo. “Riders” meaning who they roll with in custody. They may also use numbers 918, 9=I, and 18=R.

The Pesetas/Pecetas are former EME or former Associates. Peseta is the Mexican term for a 25 centavo coin. They may use a 5 point star and Dallas Cowboys logo for “DC/Dos Cinco” or 25 in Spanish. They may also use a Mayan symbol of 2 dots and a bar for 5, a Black Hand (five fingers) with a 2 in it, etc. New Flowers may have a rose or flower covering up an NF tat or other symbols that once indicated membership or sympathy with the NF. Northern Ryders often have a Playboy Bunny symbol that may or may not have a 5 point star in the eye. They often have this symbol next to their former NR tat that once signified membership in Nuestra Raza. They may also just spell out “Ryders”. The individuals in these groups have not stopped their life of crime, they just cannot exist with members of their former prison gang since they often informed on them. But, they still engage in many of the same criminal activities. Drop-outs now far outnumber active prison gang members in California and will be a future problem.

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