Honorable John Whitmire, Chair, Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
John S. O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
SB1256 by Carona (Relating to the prosecution of and punishment prescribed for engaging in organized criminal activity in a gang-free zone.), As Introduced
The bill would amend the Penal Code relating to gang-free zones and maps for evidence. The bill would create gang-free zones and increase punishment for offenses of engaging in organized criminal activity to the next higher category of offense if they occur in gang-free zones. Offenses punishable as felonies of the first degree would not be increased to the next higher category. Convictions resulting in an increase to the next higher category under this provision may not run concurrently with punishment for another conviction.
Increasing the penalty for any criminal offense is expected to result in increased demands upon the correctional resources of counties or of the State due to longer terms of probation, or, longer terms of confinement in county jails or prison. In fiscal year 2008, approximately 470 offenders were admitted to prison and state jail and approximately 400 offenders were released from prison and state jail for engaging in organized criminal activity. The probable impact of implementing the provision of this bill cannot be determined due to the unavailability of reliable data or information related to the number of times the offense of engaging in organized criminal gang activity occurred in an area to be designated a gang-free zone.