WA Gang Law Features Repression, Not Prevention


A law aimed at addressing Washington State’s growing gang-violence problem is on its way to Gov. Chris Gregoire, but advocates say the prevention-oriented heart of the bill has been gutted, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The law will focus primarily on levying stiffer penalties for gang crimes and creating a database of gang members for law enforcement to track, not the original aim of intercepting teens before they become involved. Rep. Chris Hurst, a retired detective who is one of the prime sponsors, agreed that “unless we do these prevention programs, it’s not a well-balanced approach.”

The Anti-Gang Act sets tougher penalties for gang members who recruit minors or encourage youths to commit crimes. Said a 17-year-old sometime member of the Bloods: “That’s not going to work,” the youth said, laughing. “The older gang members won’t care. They’re going to do what they do anyway.” Jennifer Shaw of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “Just passing suppression laws? Well, if that worked, we wouldn’t have crime to begin with.”

Link: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/354778_gangleg13.html

Comments are closed.