Gang Awareness
Gang Awareness

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Prevention, Intervention, and Rehabilitation Response to Criminal Gangs

GRAND JURY SUMMARY - JULY 2008

We, the members of the Eighteenth Statewide Grand Jury, find that gangs and gang violence must be addressed with prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation measures along with enforcement of the laws, punishment, and incarceration. While incarceration is appropriate when a gang member has taken criminal action, the State will be better served in the long term by preventing youth from entering gangs, providing intervention for those who have affiliated themselves with gangs, and rehabilitating gang members once they are criminally prosecuted and have completed their sentences.

It is evident to this Grand Jury that Florida must start today if it is to slow gang activity in the years ahead. The goal is to stop gang violence and growth and put the proper prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation programs in place. Only with a unified and forward looking approach can we protect Floridians from a plague of gang violence by ensuring the proper programs are in place in the every community throughout the State. Florida must take the lead or its communities will soon be overwhelmed with gangs and gang violence as has already happened in other communities across the country.

In addition to receiving testimony for this Third Interim Report, we received testimony that provided the basis for us to return four True Bills charging Racketeering, Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, and numerous other charges against dozens of defendants who are members of different gangs operating throughout the State of Florida. The testimony we received about the gang members we indicted has strengthened our position that enforcement of the laws and incarceration alone, while crucial to the immediate protection of society, will not slow down the ever increasing population of gangs or the associated violence. Only through a combined effort of enforcement, prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation will we be able to stem the swelling tide of gang membership and violence.

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