The Youth Justice Coalition is drawing attention to database that may do more harm than good.
Recently, The Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) officially released their new report “Tracked and Trapped” that exposes who is on the database, including youth as young as 10, and calls for all people’s rights to notification, appeal, removal and resources in regards to police surveillance of youth and others who are allegedly involved with “gangs” or “gang activity.”
Over 200,000 people in California are categorized as gang members or gang associates in the CalGang Database. As part of the “50 Mile March for Respect,” the YJC testified at the Police Commission and held a press conference outside to expose how the CalGang Database dramatically expands the criminalization of individuals and communities without transparency or accountability. The YJC works to end the mass incarceration of youth, to improve conditions inside the juvenile and criminal injustice systems and to increase opportunities for youth on the street.
“The gang database is another way to give more authority to LAPD to target youth of color on the streets of LA,” said Youth Organizer Jose Gallegos. “You could easily get put on the gang database just by meeting two of the ten criteria, like having tattoos, wearing certain clothes, or having friends and family on the database. And there is no way to get off of it. It is a lot like COINTELPRO, the intelligence databases from the 1960s.”
Youth Organizer Joneil Robinson adds, “The CalGang Database criminalizes mostly black and brown youth. Four-hundred and sixty youth, ages 10 to 14, are currently on the database. We need notification, appeal, and removal processes so that people can contest the claim that they are ‘gang members’.”
For more information, go to www.youth4justice.org