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Press ReleaseHate Crimes
RULE
ADL Urges Justice Department To Investigate Presence Of Gangs In Prisons Following Racist Murder In Texas

New York, NY, June 15, 1998…In the aftermath of the apparent racist murder of James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, Texas, allegedly by former members of a white supremacist prison gang, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the Justice Department to do an in-depth investigation into the presence of extremist and racist gangs in prisons.

In a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, Howard P. Berkowitz, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham, H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said, "Two of the individuals who have been charged with this murder were allegedly associated with a white supremacist group while incarcerated in the Texas prison system."

Following yet another example of violence apparently perpetuated by "graduates" of a racist prison gang, Mr. Berkowitz and Mr. Foxman urged the Department of Justice to do an in-depth investigation into the presence of extremist gangs in prisons.

While the League praised the Justice Department’s initial 1985 report, Prison Gangs: Their Extent, Nature, and Impact on Prisons, it suggested that an update would be timely and expressed the hope that a new investigation would result in a current and comprehensive analysis of the problem as well as strategies to confront this threat.

The 1985 report provided an outline of the nature of the prison gang problem and information on organized hate activity in prisons across the country.

EDITORS/PRODUCERS NOTE: For additional information and to arrange interviews with ADL experts on extremist groups operating in prisons contact the ADL Media Relations Department at 212-885-7749.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.



 
 
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1998 Anti-Defamation League