Combating gangs and organized crime groups is a daunting task for a variety of reasons, one of which is the lack of cooperation from witnesses in criminal investigations. Witnesses are often hesitant to testify against gang members and organized crime figures because they fear that they or their family will be harmed. With little help from witnesses, the criminal justice system tends to rely heavily on legislation created through local, state, and federal bodies. For example, legislation such as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute and even the U.S. Patriot Act is designed to target existing gangs and organized crime groups, levying hefty sentences on those convicted. Other legislation is designed to deter crimes committed by gangs and organized crime groups by targeting core issues that contribute to the development and proliferation of these groups.
For this Assignment, assume you have been asked to moderate an upcoming political debate between two candidates concerning crime. One area of concern, and a topic that will be addressed in the debate, is the sufficiency of current legislation to address gang and organized crime violence.
Select one gang or organized crime statute at the federal, state, or local level and research it.
addresses the following:
Write an introductory statement that reviews the statute and summarizes its intent.
Prepare three questions toward the supporting side of the statute and three questions toward the opposing side of the statute. Respond to one question from the supporting side of the statute and one question from the opposing side of the statute. Based on your responses, what conclusions can you draw about the efficacy of legislation related to combating criminal organizations?
Howell, J. C., & Griffiths, E. (2018). Gangs in America’s communities (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Chapter 10, “What Works: Intervention and Suppression” (pp. 281–317)
Braga, A. A., Hureau, D. M., & Papachristos, A. V. (2014). Deterring gang-involved gun violence: Measuring the impact of Boston’s Operation Ceasefire on street gang behavior. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 30(1), 113–139. doi:10.1007/s10940-013-9198-x
Institute for Intergovernmental Research. (2009, July). Gang prosecution manual. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/content/documents/gang-prosecution-manual.pdfNote: Read pp. 1–59 only.
Knox, J. (2015). Intelligence operations in U.S. organized crime rings. Global Security Studies, 6(1), 26–34.
National Gang Center. (2018, December). Compilation of gang-related legislation. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/Legislation
National Gang Center. (2016, December). Brief review of federal and state definitions of the terms “gang,” “gang crime,” and “gang member.” Retrieved from https://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/Content/Documents/Definitions.pdf
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2018g, May). Module 8: Law enforcement tools and cooperation. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/organized-crime/module-8/index.html
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2018h, May). Module 9: Prosecution strategies. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/organized-crime/module-9/index.html
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2018i, May). Module 10: Sentencing and confiscation in organized crime. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/organized-crime/module-10/index.html