AB 90: More Welcome Fixes to California’s Gang Databases

AB 90: More Welcome Fixes to California’s Gang Databases


The governor of California recently signed Assembly Bill 90, which addresses accuracy and fairness in information collection and accessing of gang-related allegations through CalGang and other shared gang databases in the state. The new law brings much-needed transparency and accountability to the use of these gang databases, which are relied on by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to target people for deportation. Assemblymember Shirley Weber authored the bill, and CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights), NILC, PolicyLink, the Urban Peace Institute, and the Youth Justice Coalition cosponsored it.

As part of their gang suppression work, law enforcement agencies throughout California collect personal information to label and track hundreds of thousands of individuals they suspect of being gang members. The vast majority of this information collection occurs apart from any ongoing investigations of specific crimes. The largest system for accessing the collected information is CalGang, which is used by over 6,000 law enforcement officers in at least 56 counties.

Two recently passed state laws, SB 458 (Wright) and AB 2298 (Weber), began the process of addressing issues of accuracy, consistency, and transparency in shared gang databases in California. The laws are aimed at guaranteeing all people who live in California the rights (1) to be notified if they are designated a gang associate, affiliate, or member; (2) to challenge such a designation at the agency level; (3) to appeal an unfavorable decision to a civil court; and (4) to be notified if they are removed from a gang database.

This table (PDF) details the major changes AB 90 will make to the current situation when the new law is implemented beginning January 1, 2018.

To download the table, click on the PDF icon, above.