Call for Gang Members to be Prosecuted Like Mobsters

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The recent increase in suspected or confirmed gang violence in Providence, is prompting a new call for a crackdown.

Republican State Senator Dawson Hodgson – who is running for Attorney General – wants the state’s racketeering law – used for busting up organized crime, to now be used against gangs, too.

As with the mob, a judge could declare a gang a criminal enterprise.

“Order the gang dissolved. Once the gang is dissolved, further affiliation with that particular entity would be an act of Contempt of Court, which would subject the person to incarceration,” said State Sen. Dawson Hodgson, (R) Candidate for RI Attorney General.

The courts could also seize any assets of gang members.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “In essence, just being a gang member could put you in jail, you wouldn’t have to be convicted of any other crime.”

“The current Attorney General has failed to see the power in this tool,” said Sen. Hodgson.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin issued a statement that the RICO Act is very time and resource consuming, and not idea for gang prosecution.

But Kilmartin’s spokesperson noted he already supported enhanced gang penalties passed by the General Assembly this year, including up to ten years more prison time on gang convictions.

Meantime, some community activists say a better focus would be recreation and academics, that discourage kids from joining gangs in the first place.

“A community effort to bring more programs in, and a city effort to bring the programs into the community, so the children won’t focus on going into a gang, and you know, they will focus more on school, said Community Activist Leah Williams Metts.”

Providence has had 11 homicides this year and some were gang related,.