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Statewide Grand Jury’s Gang Recommendations

January 15th, 2008 by flanews

A statewide grand jury estimates that one thousand gangs are terrorizing the state of Florida. And the problem is growing. As Chris Casquejo tells us, the attorney general and law enforcement want changes in state laws.

Hear it here: Statewide Grand Jurys Gang Recommendations

Florida has an estimated 65,000 gang members and the largest increase in gang activity nationwide. A statewide grand jury believes current laws are not enough.

We can put some of these scumbags in jail, said Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell.

The grand jury is recommending 16 changes to Florida law, including protecting witnesses who testify against gang members. The statewide prosecutor also wants to keep thugs from hitting the streets right after being arrested, by making it harder for them to post bond.

Prosecutors need to have an opportunity to come to court and tell the judge about the defendant, about the harm thats being wreaked on the community before the defendant already bonds out, said statewide prosecutor Bill Shepherd.

The gang problem is so widespread that the attorney general says that each of Floridas 67 counties has at least one gang.

Attorney general Bill McCollum wants to add 20 new special prosecutors who would deal only with gang cases, a battle that wont be easy with lawmakers in budget-cutting mode.

We need to set a priority,” McCollum said. “Thats the Legislatures job, of course, to set it. But its my job to advocate it. Its my job to tell them that this needs to be done. That its a really serious matter and it would help immensely.

Floridas gang war is not ending anytime soon. Felony related gang convictions have nearly doubled over the last two years.

You can find Floridas gang prevention website at www.safeflorida.net/safestreets

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