Gang members have begun to be treated more harshly in the eyes of the criminal justice system. This is being done in two ways.
First, Florida’s Racketeering laws are being used against street gangs. Racketeering, also known as RICO, was first created to combat the growing problems surrounding the organized crime groups known as the mafia. Florida adopted this tool in order to attack all organized crime. Throughout the years, gangs have become much more organized and now operate as criminal enterprises. Law enforcement has begun to successfully use RICO laws to prosecute the entire gang, from leaders to soldiers. Each count of RICO is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Additionally, each count of Conspiracy (organize together as a group) to commit RICO is also a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Regardless of the position held in the gang, every person could face up to 60 years in prison. Additionally, juveniles, who have traditionally been treated more lenient under the law, can also be charged with RICO and face the same severe penalties as adults.