Health & Medicine and CHECookCounty Release Statement Urging Cook County Board of Commissioners to Fully Investigate the County’s Gang Database – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Health & Medicine and CHECookCounty Release Statement Urging Cook County Board of Commissioners to Fully Investigate the County’s Gang Database

January 25, 2019

On January 23, Health & Medicine and the Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County released a statement to the Cook County Board of Commissioners in support of passage of Item #19-0687, an Ordinance to regulate and develop a long-term plan for the use of any Regional Gang Intelligence Database (RGID) and affiliated data.

The so-called gang database contains the names of 25,000 people suspected of being affiliated with more than 400 gangs and gang factions and has been criticized by civil liberties groups for having adverse effects on the lives of those listed even if they are included erroneously. Gang databases like RGID also  disproportionately affect people of color who live in areas with high gang activity.

“Being listed in a gang database can lead to denial of access to jobs and housing, receipt of further harassment by police, and in at least one case, deportation,” the statement read. “We are alarmed by the degree to which the RGID can be used to foster further racial discrimination in other public and private policies and practices, including access to key resources. Also alarming is the degree to which it can harm immigrants, despite Cook County having declared itself a “welcoming” county. Understanding health from a community perspective, the RGID harms not only the health of those who are directly impacted, but also their families, communities, and Cook County more broadly.”

Click here to read the full statement.