A state lawmaker is hoping to reduce the number of children recruited to gangs. A bill aimed at doing just that unanimously passed in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Tuesday.
At the recommendation of state education and Department of Juvenile Justice officials, Republican Representative Clay Ingram has sponsored a bill making it a second degree felony for anyone to recruit a child under the age of 13 for a gang.
“The statement was made that if you can get a kid to 13-years-old and he hasn’t joined a gang, then your chances of that kid not getting involved in gang violence are significantly increased," said Ingram.
"And, so that in essence is the attempt of this bill is to increase penalties for people who try to recruit kids into schools, keep gang members away from schools, and get kids to that critical age of 13-years-old, not having gotten involved in something like this.”
The bill (HB 407) also increases the penalty from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor for a formerly convicted gang member who trespasses in a school zone.
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