Action Alert: Oppose S. 456, Feinstein's Gang Legislation Bill

The time is now to send your Senators a letter opposing Sen. Diane Feinstein's gang legislation bill, S. 456, the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2007. It will hurt our kids.

Primary objections are:

  • this legislation defines "gangs" and "gang crime" so broadly that it will drastically increase the number of children and youth who are inappropriately swept into the juvenile justice system -- especially poor children and children of color;
  • this legislation places an extremely heavy emphasis on incarceration and punishment, and fails to support what we know really works to reduce recidivism: prevention and intervention; and
  • this legislation unfairly and inappropriately targets undocumented individuals.

Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Elizabeth Dole are co-sponsors of the bill, that should tell you something.

Background on the bill and its predecessor is here and here.


Gangs are not all that mysterious. Reformers know what works with them and what doesn't. "Gang experts, intervention practitioners, social scientists, researchers and enlightened law enforcement officials all agree." What works is prevention, intervention and enforcement.

You prevent kids from joining gangs by offering after-school programs, sports, mentoring and positive engagement with adults. You intervene with gang members by offering alternatives and employment to help redirect their lives. You deal with areas of high gang crime activity with real community policing.

....What's really going on here is politics. Feinstein and Hatch are promoting the image of the juvenile super-predator -- using fear and hysteria to garner support for their ill- advised bill. A better name for their bill would be the "Gang Fear and Pandering Act". It is one that will neither prevent nor deter gang-related crime.

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  • Display: Sort:
    This act is crazy (none / 0) (#1)
    by janinsanfran on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 12:16:15 AM EST
    As a Californian, let me say this is the LAST thing we need -- the California Youth Authority is a scandalous, dangerous disaster that ought to be closed down. Heck, even the SF Chronicle says so. Unhappily Difi always looks for a law enforcement solution to social problems.

    Feinstein needs to be primaried. (none / 0) (#2)
    by dkmich on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 06:03:58 AM EST
    She also voted to defeat Dorgan's guest worker amendment.  This is not my Democratic Party.  

    Follow (none / 0) (#3)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 01:34:47 PM EST
    the money.  If Sen. Feinstien proposes it, it has to benefit her husband in some way.  

    undocumented individuals (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 08:07:56 PM EST
    What is "unfair" about targeting "undocumented Individuals" (i.e. illegal aliens) since if targeted they can be deported without having to prove actual crimes.  Witnesses to gang crimes are hard to find, and there is NO constitutional right to live in the US as an "undocumented individual".