Gang Violence in Mississippi is increasing and new legislation could help investigators and prosecutors get gang members off the streets. Tony Lawrence, District Attorney for Jackson, George and Greene Counties says he started to realize the limitations of the current law several years ago.
“Their playbook is almost like what you saw the mafia, in their hay-day, do,” said DA Tony Lawrence.
Lawrence added that gangs are recruiting members and younger and younger ages.
“They get the young kids to go into the house, because they know that if the young kid gets caught they are going to youth court,” Lawrence said.
Now, new legislation could help officers and prosecutors shut down gangs like the Simon City Royals.
“It will help us get not only the gang members, but will help us get the money men… and it will help us go after this recruiting process of young people in our society,” Lawrence said.
Bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate that will help with ending gang activity in the state.
“The anti-gang bill creates a new set of crimes
“Any felony crimes committed by a gang, they are going to get enhanced penalties, they are going to get added jail time, it is going to be classified as a violent crime and they are going to spend 50%, at a minimum, of their time in prison,” said Representative Andy Gipson, author of the anti-gang bill, HB 541. “We want to send a message that we are taking this seriously.
Gipson added that all 82 counties in Mississippi have the three major gangs, the Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords, and the Simon City Royals.
The house version of the anti-gang bill has been passed out of committee and will soon head to the house floor.