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BIKER NEWS: Bikie feuds simmer in packed jails

BN- Prison officials are running out of room to keep warring bikie gangs segregated inside the State’s jails, with record numbers behind ...



BN- Prison officials are running out of room to keep warring bikie gangs segregated inside the State’s jails, with record numbers behind bars.

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis has revealed the high number of bikies in jail had become increasingly difficult to manage because many were bringing their bitter external rivalries with them.

“If you went back five years, there were fewer numbers of bikies in jail but also those bikies would predominantly go in there, do their time and leave their fights outside the gates of the prison,” he said.

“Now they’re clearly taking their internal fights within the walls of the prison, which creates a significant management issue just to keep them segregated.”

Department of Corrective Services figures show 55 patched gang members are in jail either serving sentences or awaiting trials.

A further 75 nominee members and close gang associates are also in custody out of a total jail population of 5600.

Mr Francis said the bikie population was being fuelled by the methamphetamine trade, which had led to an explosion in the number of WA gangs trying to grab a share of the lucrative market.

“They are one of the main reasons why we have such an issue with methamphetamine in society,” Mr Francis said.

WA is home to 10 bikie gangs, seven of which have members behind bars.

Jail officials refused to provide a breakdown on the numbers from each gang but it is understood the Rebels, Comacheros and Lone Wolf clubs make up a significant portion.

Some are household names such as former Coffin Cheater turned Finks bikie Troy Mercanti, who is serving a long jail term for domestic violence.

Rebels bikie boss Duane “Bluff” Chapman is on remand over serious drug charges.

Mr Francis said the swelling numbers added pressure on prison staff to try to stop jails becoming recruiting grounds for the gangs.

The Lone Wolf gang is the State’s newest and most of its members are believed to have met in jail between 2013 and last year before setting up the club’s first WA chapter.

“You’ve got fairly vulnerable (people) who are obviously too easy to convince,” Mr Francis said.

More: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/29572188/bikie-feuds-simmer-in-packed-jails/

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