Bill Would Increase Penalties For Gang Members

Feb 23, 2017

Johnathan Bastian, of the Lexington Fraternal Order of Police.

The Kentucky House Judiciary Committee has overwhelmingly approved legislation focused on reducing gang-related violence in the state.  

The bill makes recruitment of gang members a felony and defines a gang for criminal purposes as three or more people.  Current law sets the standard at five or more.  Louisville Assistant Police Chief Kim Kraeszig said last year 40 percent of a record number of homicides were under 26.  “Last year we had over 400 shootings.  We are losing so many lives in our community,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”


Lexington Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Jonathan Bastian said the measure focuses primarily on heads of gangs and recruiters in an effort to break a cycle of gang membership. 

Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Rebecca Diloreto said some young gang members might move into a jail environment where’s there more gang activity.