Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baltimore Gangs Active in Prison from Baltimore reports on the real-life story of drug gang members operating from inside the prison. Sounds like The Wire, but is this a case of "life imitating art" or was the life scenario doing it first? We've talked about this before; it's not limited to the States.

Federal prosecutors said a drug gang known as the Black Guerrilla Family smuggled drugs, weapons, cell phones and luxuries such as champagne into Maryland prisons, where members continued to operate the drug ring.

The U.S. attorney's office announced indictments Thursday against 24 gang members and associates, including guards and other prison employees who helped smuggle contraband. All face conspiracy, drugs and weapons charges.

I would imagine it happens in both directions. The writers of The Sopranos and The Wire could have easily taken their ideas from the daily news, but the details in some cases could have been invented by them. It's fascinating to think that criminals might have learned some tricks-of-the-trade from films about criminals like themselves.

The most important thing is well expressed by the U.S. Attorney:

"It's not enough to catch bad guys. It's not enough to get them convicted and sent to prison. We need to make sure while they are in prison that they are isolated and not able to carry on their gang activities," said U.S. attorney Rod Rosenstein.

What's your opinion? Do you agree that sometimes "life imitates art" in the crime world? Would that make film makers irresponsible and somehow responsible? What do you think?

Please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Gangs have been active in one form or another in prisons for about as long as there have been prisons, simply as a matter of survival. Before we go blaming fiction, let's consider the things the state prison systems have done to make things worse.

  2. Yes I learned a lot from Dexter. Including making sure that when you dump a body off your boat, you do so in such a place that they will never be found.

    Now in all seriousness, criminals have been doing that kind of thing for a while. Long before TV.

  3. Anon, He did that Off the Coast of Maine he wouldn't have had any problems.

    Starfish, crabs and lobsters, and the occasional hag fish do WONDERS.

  4. This is an interesting discussion. The writers/creators of The Wire did a lot of research on the corners and prisons of Baltimore, but the way the show works, glorifying these guys can't be helped in a TV series scenario, so I think they feed each other.

    Omar is a mean and scary character, but cool as all get out.

  5. Steven Hart, I would never want to restrict writers or filmakers in any way, but don't you think the creative ones among them have taught the gangsters a trick or two?

  6. hi all