Despite rampant overcrowding and a federal push to end America’s massive incarceration build-up, Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk’s push for a massive arrest of 18,000 members of Chicago’s Gangster Disciples continues.
In 2013 Kirk sought out $30 million from the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund the arrests and incarcerations, according to the Christian Science Monitor. In January he announced that Congress has approved $18.5 million to combat gangs. He said he wanted to crush the Gangster Disciples in Chicago.
The money has to be funneled to his specific objectives, a process that continues.
Kirk told a Chicago magazine this effort, which is his top priority. “I would like to do a mass pickup of them and put them all in the Thomson Correctional Facility. I will be proposing this to be the assembled federal law enforcement: ATF, DEA and FBI.”
Rep. Bobby Rush said Kirk’s proposal should focus on employment and education rather than incarceration.
Kirk’s current plan does not include the option to create jobs, provide affordable safe housing, quality health care and improve schools. But certainly a plan to incarcerate 18,000 black men is elitist,” Rush wrote in response. “Why is incarceration the sole option instead of rehabilitation, which is proven to work?”
The Gangster Disciples, known simply as GDs, have been in existence since the 1960s. The gang has a mixed reputation that includes notorious criminal acts but also codes that focus on positive virtues. For example, GDs must know and follow the seven virtues: Intelligence, shrewdness, kindness, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and loyalty. Their symbol of a six-point star stands for many ideals like education, social development and unity. Members aren’t typically hazed in, but “blessed” by an existing member.
But they also have more traditional aspects of gangs like colors, how to wear them and enemies of rival gangs, most notably the Vice Lords.
The GDs shifted in the 1990’s into politics and social service in the tradition of the Black Panthers from Oakland. They instituted a growth and development course members are supposed to learn.
Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates www.criminalu.co, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at Andrew.Bolsinger@gmail.com