Sensitive Needs Yard Prison Gangs - SNY

In recent years, the California prison system has established areas within some of their prisons for those inmates who, for a number of reasons, can not be placed in the general population. These areas are called "Sensitive Needs Yards."

Generally speaking, an Inmate and who has become a gang member while in prison can not simply walk away from the gang life without some form of retaliation.  Their names are placed on a hit list and they become open targets.  This could mean his death. 

To be placed on a SNY, an "dropout" must go through a debriefing period which could last from a few hours to weeks or months, depending on the inmates status within the gang.  In other words he becomes, in prison terms, a snitch.  He must cooperate at all times and this includes testifying against members of his former gang in open court.  

While these SNY inmates may have had good intentions when they began the process of dropping out of the gang, once they arrived in a SNY facility, they soon found there were those who would try to take advantage of the.  Thus in many cases, the gang cycle began all over.  Over past decade, many of these "dropouts", who supposedly still fear for their lives, have formed other gangs, which the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDOC) calls "disruptive groups" rather than prison gangs.

Background information about two of these group may be found below.  Other similar disruptive groups exist in the CDOC and these will be included on this page and the information is gathered.

Identified SNY Gangs

The Two-Five Gangsters

The date of origin for the Two Five’s (2-5) prison gang is unknown.  Like most prison gangs, or disruptive groups, the gang formed for self protection.   Unlike most prison gangs who form through ethnic and/or geographic ties,  the 2-5's will accept any protective custody inmate whom they consider to be an inmate who is  worthy of membership.

Two-Five Apparel

Two-Five members are known to wear the DC brand of tennis shoe.  The “D” represents Dos and the “C” represents Cinco.  Dos Cinco translates in English to Two Five or Deuce Five.

The 2-5's have been known to wear a red lips or "kiss" tattoo. The Sureños (Sur 13) are also known to wear this tattoo. The significance of the tattoo is unknown.  However, an inmate reported that if you look at the tattoo sideways it forms the number "13".



The 2-5's may use one or more of the following symbols as tattoos or correspondence

  •  25% - THE 25 PERCENT SYMBOL


  • They may also use the Mayan numeric system - A single bar with two dots over the bar.  The bar represents the number five - each dot represents the number one

Most of the incarcerated 2-5 members are Sureño dropouts.  Their main source of income is drug sales and trafficking.  "Fivers" on the street generate income in two ways - robbing Sureños and illegal taxing of drug gangs who pay in order to continue doing business.

Northern Riders

California prison officials traced the origin of the Northern Riders gang of to the Deuel Vocational Institution.

The NR formed in reaction to the rigid Northern Structure and Nuestra Familia, related gangs that demand their members carry out commands from those further up in the hierarchy.

The CDOC paid little attention to the NR in the beginning and like cities all over the United States who deny that gangs exist, the NR has established itself as a gang that is to be watched.  In just over ten years the gangs membership has grown to over 1200 members.


The Play Boy bunny is the main symbol of the NR


A short message precedes each of the videos below


Northern Rider - SNY Prison Gang - Part 1



Northern Rider - SNY Prison Gang - Part 2



If you have information about any of the other SNY gangs in the CDOC please send that information to Gangs OR Us.  Your email should contain the following:

  • Name of SNY gang
  • Members former gang affiliation
  • Number of members
  • Identifying tattoos - attach photo if available
  • Origin and history of the gang
  • Any other information that you think would be helpful



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Robert Walker

This page was last updated on 03/14/2014

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