FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14: Prisoners associated with rival gangs Parkside and 42 are being kept on the same cell block, sources at Westgate have claimed.

One gang member was assaulted last week with some members of the warring gangs intent on carrying on their feud behind bars.

Around seven guys from Parkside and three from 42 are said to be on the same E1 block of the prison.

It had previously been policy to keep rival gang members separate in an effort to prevent conflict. But the policy appears to have been set aside.

“One of the 42 guys was beaten up just last week,” said the source.

“There are Parkside and 42 members on the same block. It’s a tense situation, we need to keep these guys separate.”

Commissioner Eddie Lambe did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

Pastor Leroy Bean, who does gang intervention work in the community, said it would make sense from a safety perspective to keep rival gangs separate.

Unity

He said: “I understand the concept that they’re hoping to achieve which would be some sort of unity between the gangs in prison but you can’t expect this to happen on its own.

“I believe they need to be separated. There is definitely potential for violence.”

Pastor Bean, who runs the intervention group CARTEL, has called for a specialist programme to be set up within Westgate to help mediate a truce between rival gangs.

He believes they should be encouraged to set aside their differences — but only in an organized, structured session.

“These are often very emotionally damaged individuals and if they are left to their own devices and not given the support and the structure they need, they are liable to get out of prison and carry on where they left off.”

He recommends a ‘gang-offenders programme’ requiring anyone convicted of a gang-related crime to go through group sessions as part of their sentence.

“It could be similar to the programme they have for sex offenders where you have to receive counselling to be eligible for parole.”

He said mediated group sessions for gang members in Westgate would help them resolve their conflicts and psychological issues before they are released. He said the therapy should continue while they are on parole to help prevent them slipping back into gang lifestyles on their release.

“I think that’s something that could be attached to their parole. An individual can put a mask on for a parole officer but it is very difficult to do that in group sessions.”

He said the sessions could also serve as a support group for released gang members.