Bob Joseph/WNBF News [file][/caption]New York State Senator Fred Akshar says legislation to increase penalties for crimes associated with street gangs is long overdue.

The Republican former Broome County Undersheriff says the proposal not only increases options for prosecutors but also creates curriculums for schools to work to prevent gang recruitment.

The Criminal Street Gang Enforcement and Prevention Act was sponsored by Republican Senator Martin Golden of Brooklyn.

Golden, himself, is a former New York City Police Officer.

The legislation for the first time legally defines criminal street gangs in the state’s penal statutes, giving prosecutors more options when filing charges and lengthens possible jail time for gang members and those who recruit for gangs.