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Gang Violence Legislation Emerges from House Committee

J. Tyler Franklin

Legislation aimed at reducing gang related violence across Kentucky is on its way to the House floor. The Judiciary Committee easily approved the extensive measure Wednesday.

Among other things, it makes gang recruitment a felony and lowers the definition of a gang from more than four to more than two. Jonathan Bastian is with the Lexington Fraternal Order of Police.

“Primarily focus on the heads of gangs, the people who are doing the recruiting and to penalize that more severely so that we can try to break this perpetual cycle of gangs in different areas of the Commonwealth,” Bastian said.

Louisville Assistant Police Chief Kim Kraeszig testified about a record number of homicides last year where 40 percent were under the age of 26.

Expressing opposition to the bill was Rebecca Diloreto with the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She told lawmakers the bill will increase incarceration in prisons where gangs are often found.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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