They vet and manage tax-paying supplier gangs within prisons, regulate transactions, and control violence in the marketplace and on the streets. They provide protection to their member suppliers more effectively than individual suppliers could do for themselves.They carry the credible threat of exercising violence - and even murder in case of theft or snitching - to ensure timely payments.
These new conditions posed complications to consumer-supplier relationships in the already distrustful environment of an underground economy.
The constant surge of prisoners coming into the system with no understanding of the status quo had disrupted the established equilibrium cohesion.
And as demographics inside prisons changed drastically, small groups centered on ethnicity, race, and pre-prison alliances were disrupted.
It became more and more difficult for independent individual suppliers to accommodate this increased demand.
Under tight prison security and with limited means, these individual suppliers could only provide a limited amount of product.