Sen. Jansens legislation to reduce gang membership sent to governor
LANSING — Legislation to lessen gang involvement and violence across Michigan is on its way to the governor’s desk, said bill sponsor Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township.
“This is a comprehensive approach designed to help reduce gang membership across the state,” Jansen said. “If we want to give our children a brighter future free of gangs then we have to address gang violence.”
Senate Bills 660 and 661 call for a new five year felony with a fine of up to $5,000 for encouraging or soliciting gang membership. The bill also creates a 20-year felony with a fine up to $20,000 for retaliation against individuals for withdrawing from a gang.
The proposals would allow a judge to sentence criminals consecutively for another felony or an attempt to commit a felony from the same incident.
In a one month span last year, 119 self-admitted gang members were booked into the Kent County Jail. These individuals pledged allegiance to 33 different gangs. The city of Wyoming in particular has seen an increase in violence, gang graffiti and gang membership.
Communities like Wyoming and their law enforcement agencies, along with the Wyoming Youth Initiative Program, are providing gang awareness training to parents, teachers, residents, businesses, churches, courts and school groups. They also are hosting gang investigator meetings and have instituted anti-gang graffiti ordinances.
“Unfortunately, gang and violent activity is rising dramatically in metropolitan west Michigan,” Jansen said. “I am extremely concerned about the dramatic increase across our state and country. That’s why we have to act now. I anxiously await seeing these vital measures signed into law.”
SBs 660 and 661 have been sent to the governor for her signature.
Posted: Friday, December 19, 2008
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