Tracked and Trapped - About the CalGang Database

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This presentation by the Youth Justice Coalition covers California's "War on Gangs" - including the creation and use of secret police "gang files" - and the impact these policies have on youth of color. A written report can be requested by e-mail through freelanow@yahoo.com.

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  • There are now 0 youth prisoners in other countries .
  • Tracked and Trapped - About the CalGang Database

    1. 1. Tracked and Trapped The Impact of Gang Databases on Youth of ColorPO Box 73688, L.A., CA 90003 / www.youth4justice.org / freelanow@yahoo.com
    2. 2. THE CALGANG DATABASE IS ROOTED IN L.A.’S 164-YEAR-LONG WAR ON GANGS
    3. 3. 1848 California and the Southwest isannexed into U.S. through illegal waragainst Mexico.L.A. :Is the only region west of Texas to side with theConfederacy.Gains reputation as nation’s most violent city with onemurder per day by 1870. The homicide rate between1847 and 1870 averaged 158 per 100,000, whichwas 10 to 20 times the annual murder rates forNew York City during the same period. If wehad the same homicide rate today, we’d have600,000 murders a year. French send troops toprotect their citizens.By 1871, half of businesses are gambling halls, saloons orhouses of prostitution, most with political or lawenforcement ownership or involvement. Corruption is thenorm in L.A.’s police force until the Parker administrationof the 1960s. The Marshall’s Office is funded byenslavement of indigenous population.L.A.’s first jail is established (chain and a log.)
    4. 4. L.A.’S WAR ON GANGS STARTS IN 1848:L.A. has the highest lynching rate of any region in the country. the victims are largely Californios - now seen since the war as Mexicans struggling to reclaim land and livestock taken through the war. First use of gang profiling – “bandido/bandit” – to criminalize groups. Los Angeles had several active Vigilance Committees during that era. Between 1850 and 1870, mobs carried out approximately 35 lynchings of Mexicans—morethan four times the number that occurred in San Francisco. Los Angeles was described as "undoubtedly the toughest town of the entire nation. 1871 – Chinese Massacre is L.A.’s first of many “riots,” all of which are led by law enforcement or happen in response to police brutality. A shootout between Tong factions leads to the death of a popular white chicken rancher. A mob of 200-500 Whites and Latinos led by local government and law enforcement leadsto the lynching of 19 Chinese men and the burning down of Chinatown. Vigilante mobs and state sanctioned murder typifies L.A.’s “justice” system throughout 1800s and early 1900s. 1881 - The L.A. Times is founded by Otis Harrison, and both he and the paper are a leading voice in L.A..’s power structure which establishes L.A. as nearly all-white and union free by 1900.
    5. 5. Throughout the 1900s, the war ongangs continued.L.A. has more “riots” than any other region of the country - all areeither led by law enforcement or military against the community orrepresent a community response police violence.confiscation of all savings, businesses the most famous of whichwas the Sleepy Lagoon Trial and Sailor (a.k.a. Zoot Suit) Riotswhere “fear of gangs” was used to criminalize and incarcerateyouth of color.
    6. 6. THE BACKLASH AGAINSTYOUTHPOWER
    7. 7. OUT OF L.A. CAME THE BUILDERS OF SCHOOL DE-FUNDING AND MASS INCARCERATION
    8. 8. THESE POLICIES ALSO CAME OUT OF L.A.:Nixon’s Law and Order backlash after 60s movements creates a massivejump in incarceration. NIXON DECLARES WAR ON DRUGS. The prisonpopulation increases 600% in 20 years. California and L.A. lead the worldin incarceration and harsh sentencing, including creation of adult courttransfers, JLWOP, Prop 21 and Prop 9 - all are written and financed fromL.A.; Three Strikes is financed from L.A.Howard Jarvis and Ronald Reagan lead anti-tax movement (Prop 13), the “war ondrugs” and war on welfare, and mental health de-institutionalization withoutcommunity services, all lead to massive increase in homelessness and furtherincarceration. L.A. creates “planned Skid Row” to force homeless into downtownisolation.Chief Parker introduces military-style policing and brings National Guard into Watts in‘65. Gates takes militarization further by creating nation’s first SWAT and CRASH(gang).’92 Gates also created DARE.U.S. fuels wars against rebellions in Central America. In the 80s, LAPD and Sheriffswork with U.S. military to teach counter-guerilla tactics, interrogation and tortureagainst civilians. In the 90s and 00s, they return to teach gang suppression whenpeople are deported - (the greatest number from L.A.)2007 - Jordan Downs is first community in the U.S. to get internet-based surveillancesystem. L.A. and Riverside first to use GPS monitoring to track people with gangconvictions returning home from prison.
    9. 9. IN L.A. : SIMULTANEOUSLY, THE U.S. STRATEGY INCLUDED FLOODING COMMUNITIES OF COLOR WITH DRUGS LEADING TO A RELIANCE ON AN UNDERGROUND DRUG ECONOMY
    10. 10. BY THE 1980s, YOUTH ARE LABELEDSUPERPREDATORSEven though John DiLulio, the researcher who created theterm later apologized for his flawed research.
    11. 11. In the 1980s, Los Angeles County built the nation’s first comprehensive gang suppressionpolicies:[1] Gang injunctions - first startedin Pomona and West Covina in 1983 -the ability to lock down aneighborhood and arrestpeople if they areon the street with anotheralleged gang member -Including family - out pastcurfew, or carrying a cell phone.[2] In 1985, L.A. established CLEAR[Community Law Enforcement andRecovery] first multi-agency taskforce and joint code enforcementeffort targeting street gangs.[3] In 1987, the L.A. County Sheriffs Department created the first gang database -a computerized file that labeled people as “gang members”without their knowledge, without any chance to appeal, and without clear way to get off.(4) The statewide STEP (Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention) Act in ‘88, the nation’sfirst law targeting street gangs, first gang definition, first language referring to gangmembers as “terrorists,” first gang enhancements in court, and took database statewideto create the CalGang Database.
    12. 12. For most people, getting added to the CalGang Database begins with a police officer stopping them on the street or in school, asking questions, and taking pictures of them and identifying characteristics (such as scars and tattoos.) During the stop, the police fill out an F.I. card - known as a “field information card.” Some departments refer to this as a field identification card. An officer trained in CalGangs - either the officer who made the stop or another officer they hand the information off to - determines whether or not to add the person and the information collected onto CalGangs.
    13. 13. [1] CalGang is a secret police surveillance tool.People (and their parents)are not notified, they have no process tochallenge/appeal the label anddepartments have no standard processfor removing people. If you are removed,that is also kept secret from you.[2] Whenever the person comes into contactwith law enforcement in the state - and increasinglyIn the nation - they will come up as a “known gangmember.”[2] Criteria to be added to the CalGangDatabase includes that the person meettwo of the following: a. admits “gang membership”or association; b. is observed to be associating on with“known” gang members; c. has tattoos “indicatingmembership;” wears clothing, symbols, etc. to identifywith a specific gang; is in a photograph with “known gangmembers” or with gang signs; name is on a “gang document,hit list or gang related graffiti; is identified as a gang memberby a “reliable source;” is arrested in the company of knowngang members or associates; corresponds with known gangmembers or associates and/or receives correspondence aboutgang activities; writes about gang(s) on walls, books, paper, etc.
    14. 14. Through submission of a Public Records Act request, the Youth Justice Coalition justreleased the first-ever data on who is on the CalGang database: 201,094 people are currently on CalGangs. 94.8% are male. Twenty percent are African American; 66% are Latino. The database includes youth as young as ten. The population of L.A. County makes up 27% of California; but L.A. makes up 40% of the people on the CalGang database.
    15. 15. Results ofL.A.’s(Most Recent)Multi-Billion $Gang War?
    16. 16. Results of L.A.’s Most Recent Multi-Billion $ Gang War?• After 30 years, L.A. has 6 times as many alleged gangs and at least twice as many alleged gang members.• In 30 years, there are more than 100,000 shooting victims in South Central and Watts alone.• In West L.A., 1 in 78,000 young men are victims of homicide.• In East L.A. it’s 1 in 6,100. We have exported• In South L.A., it’s 1 in 2,200. the street organizations,• L.A. County leads the nation and the the violence and the world in detention, incarceration and suppression policies nationwide and deportation> internationally.• One in 3 African American males is under the custody of the state.• African Americans are 11% of L.A.’s population, but 36% of detention and prison population.• Latinos in L.A. serve five times longer sentences for the same crimes as whites.• Latino youth are five times more likely, and African American youth 18.3 times more likely to receive life without parole than white youth.
    17. 17. L.A.’s WAR ON GANGS FUELED CALIFORNIA’S ADDICTION TO INCARCERATION
    18. 18. IN THE EARLY 80s, CALIFORNIA STARTED TORAPIDLY EXPAND THE BUILDING OF PRISONSAND CUT THE BUDGET TO EVERYTHING ELSE.
    19. 19. DURING THAT SAME TIME,CALIFORNIA BUILT ONE UC ANDTWO CAL STATE UNIVERSITIES.
    20. 20. California used to be #1 in school spending and had one of the best school systems in the world.Now, California is #1in prison spending, and with this year’s budget cuts,dropped from #47 to #50 in school spending. South and East L.A. lead the nation in school overcrowding, low test scores anddrop-out/push-out rates with only 40% of students graduating.
    21. 21. Just1%of L.A.’s Courts,Police, Sheriffs’District Attorney’s,Probation’s and CityAttorney’s Budgetswould pay for: 500 full-time gang interventionworkers; 50 youthcenters open from 3pm -midnight, 365 days ayear; and 25,000 youthjobs!
    22. 22. Job and Cost Comparisons Between Law Enforcement and Intervention

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