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How the gang enhancement law has hurt minorities




A Los Angeles Police Department patrol car.
A Los Angeles Police Department patrol car.
steve lyon/Flickr Creative Commons

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In the late 1980s, California enacted a law which officially defined the word gang. That same law also provided the ability to add time to a prison sentence if a criminal was deemed to be affiliated with a gang. 

Similar laws are now in place in 31 states across the country. Proponents say the gang enhancement law has helped to crack down on crime, but critics say the law is unfair and targets minorities. 

Journalist Daniel Alarcón looked into the issue and how it played out in one case in California's Central Valley. His piece in the New York Times is titled "How do you define a gang?" and he joined the show with more.