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Clements Murder Raises Questions About Prison Gangs

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Tattoos on a prison gang member (credit: CBS)

Tattoos on a prison gang member (credit: CBS)

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Investigator Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – In the wake of the Tom Clements murder involving suspects who belong to a prison gang, questions have now been raised about such gangs.

At the Department of Corrections, since the murder of Clements, many questions have been asked about the formation of prison gangs and what has been done to prevent them.

A briefing was held Friday morning at the Department of Corrections that addressed the issue of prison gangs. Officials explained how they go about identifying, tracking and handling such gangs.

Officials showed pictures of tattooed inmates which often are used to identify them with a particular gang. They also showed the gang signs used by some groups which can spell out letters or numbers.

According to prison officials, the gangs frequently have bylaws. One list shown calls for silence and secrecy, drugs, stealing and respect. It notes that members need to live by them.

Officials said the gangs can communicate even between different prison facilities.

“They have family support, they have the mail system. We have offenders that do move from area to area, so they come back and say, ‘Oh, yeah, did you know so and so is over at that facility?’ Really it’s their job to know where their group’s at,” Eva Little with the Department of Corrections said.

They would not discuss specifics of the investigation into the Clements murder.

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