The irony of increasing jail time for gang members is that it actually increases the number of members in gangs and the number of gangs. Many gangs were started and all are expanded by recruitment in jail.
I learned first hand why a person would feel compelled to join a gang while imprisoned. In my few days in Kamloops Regional Correction Centre for cannabis trafficking I found that well over half the 38 inmates on my range belonged to one of 2 gangs. They basically run the block by controlling the phones, the gym, the yard, and any trustee positions. Anyone not in a gang will find themselves constantly challenged and intimidated. I saw a 19-year-old being pressured to fight by an inmate who, I was warned, is “cold”. This 19-year-old had no choice but to seek protection from one of the established prison gangs. I’m afraid to know what this kid would be expected to do in return for his “protection”.
And what happens in prison doesn’t necessarily stay in prison. The gang organization carries on outside the prison as well. A guard warned me that if I felt endangered and opted for protective custody (PC) that my life would be worth “shit” inside and outside the prison. PC usually means the person is a snitch and the word will get around.
Most established gang members have absolutely nothing to fear when going to prison. Since they run the place they are well protected. Increased prison time is definitely not a deterrent for them.
Gangs are fueled by the demand for substances which the government has prohibited as we learned during alcohol prohibition. Bill C-15 would finance gangs and aid in their proliferation making Canada more dangerous for all of us.