Officials say in reality, gang crime is on the rise all over Mississippi and all around the rest of the country. A bill before the Mississippi Senate would add enhanced penalties to crimes committed by validated gang members, and Gov. Phil Bryant and others say it’s a major strike in the fight against violent crime in the Magnolia state.
“This is organized crime, and we should treat it as such,” Bryant told The Clarion-Ledger. “This bill will help enhance the penalties. Just like when you’re caught committing a crime with a gun, there’s an enhanced penalty, if you’re caught as a member of a gang related to a criminal activity, there’ll be an enhanced penalty. And there should be.”
Bryant said parts of Senate Bill 2027 also deal with gang activity inside the Department of Corrections, where he said there are more than 2,500 identified members of the Gangster Disciples alone. The Aryan Brotherhood, Vice Lords, and other prominent gangs are also very active within the corrections system, he said.