Thursday, February 26, 2009

H.R. 1022 Addresses the Root Causes of Gang Violence

With very little fanfare, a new bill was introduced in Congress earlier this month to address the issue of gang violence. The "Gang Prevention, Intervention and Suppression Act (GPISA)" (H.R. 1022) was introduced in the House by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and cosponsored by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA). The bipartisan bill has three major sections:
  1. Violent Crime Reforms to Reduce Gang Violence

  2. Increase Federal Resources to Deter and Prevent Seriously At-Risk Youth from Joining Illegal Street Gangs

  3. Resources to Strengthen Employment and Education Opportunities for Former Offenders
The first section is the kind of thing that usually shows up in relation to gang violence - tighten up the laws to make gang participation less attractive. On the whole, this approach hasn't done much to reduce gang membership. Many gang members welcome the opportunity for incarceration. It's a badge of honor, and you can pick up some useful skills in prison. (Gangs like ex-cons with useful skills.) But this is the sort of "Get Tough" legislation that a bill like this needs in order to garner bipartisan support.

IMHO, it's the second and third sections that offer the most promise for making a real impact. Effective programs to provide alternatives to gang membership are available in many communities, but the best programs have trouble achieving maximum impact because of inadequate funding. A couple of my favorites are the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and Operation Safe Streets in Boston, Baltimore and other major cities. H.R. 1022 has provisions to get necessary funding (approx. $200 million/yr for 5 years) into the communities that need it most in addressing the root causes of gang violence.

GPISA also has provisions for funding of programs that reduce prison recidivism for gang members, focusing on education and employment (approx $40 million/yr for 5 yrs). This is another positive approach that helps offenders learn from their mistakes and works to reintergrate them into society as productive members.

Personally, I would like to see H.R. 1022 go a little bit further and deal with gangs in prison. However, while we continue to campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace, the "Gang Prevention, Intervention and Suppression Act" sounds like a good step in addressing the root causes of violence and building a culture of peace. Send your Representative a note and tell them you want them to co-sponsor H.R. 1022.

7 comments:

  1. Another organization you might be interested in is 99problems. They are currently focused on reaching out about this issue, it's definitely worth a look for you.

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  2. My understanding is that HR1022 also takes many self defense fire arms away from honest citizens.

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  3. You actually think that this will keeps guns from gangs, wow! Criminals will always get guns, so all gun laws do is prohibit law-abiding citizens from owning guns. There are many bills being proposed to restrict or ban guns. One is called the No fly, No Buy Act (H.R. 2401). So if you are on a no fly list for unknown reasons or you happen to have the same name as a suspected terrorist (not a convicted one or one where there proof of his/her crime, just suspected) you are put on a no fly list.

    HR H.R. 2159, The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009, sponsored by Rep. Peter King of New York.

    Why do you and others want a fascist state? Because that is what you are advocating? The government will not protect you but they will kill you. Cops out of control, corrupt congress and bankers who are robbing us blind. Man, are you people naïve, peace is not possible when criminals and government have all the guns and the people have none or limited access.

    1938, Hitler banned Jews from owning guns, so what happened next?

    Mexico, total gun ban: Drug cartels and the Government have the guns and what is happening down there now?

    You can answer these, but I'll end with this, a country will fall into complete bondage once they have been disarmed and free speech is eliminated; see HR 1966 AND 1913!

    Tyranny will come wrapped in a flag

    If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. -- James Madison

    'When the government fears the people it is a democracy....when the people fear their government it is tyranny...' --- Thomas Jefferson

    Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin


    The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive.– Thomas Jefferson


    The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home. – James Madison

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  4. This is such BS, the gang violence problem stems nearly 100% not from guns but from them selling drugs. The exact same thing that happened with the rise of the mafia with the illegality of alchol. 97% of the mexican Mafia's profits come from drug sales. Legalization and regulation of these drugs will take away 97% of gangs funding and the problem will be gone. Not to mention gangs DO NOT buy guns legally, anyone who thinks this is a horrid imbecile.

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  5. maybe it is out in left field but maybe putting a chip on guns that are sold might make it easier like tracking a cell phone signal it might be really difficult at first but easier for law enforcement also profiling those that buy guns like they do pharmacuticals

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  6. Interesting post.

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  7. I believe that there is a group of gang everywhere we go and we cannot stop it from growing. I just wish that those gang stops making violence that can hurt innocent people.

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