SPRINGFIELD – Access to law enforcement’s controversial gang databases would be limited under a measure from State Senator Patricia Van Pelt that passed out of the Senate today.

“For years, law enforcement has been using gang databases with little oversight to how they’re used and who has access to the information,” Van Pelt (D-Chicago) said. “This measure will ensure that database information can’t be used in background checks for employment, housing, licensing and education, which has been one of the biggest problems with the database.”

The use of gang databases to track individuals labeled as suspected gang members has been called into question in recent months after investigative reports found that hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans have been added to gang databases.

“Gang databases should be used to crack down on crime, not prevent an innocent person from getting a job or an apartment,” Van Pelt said. “This is a commonsense solution to a problem that never should’ve existed in the first place.”

Within the demographic of young black men 20-29 years of age, 53,418 (up to 89 percent of population) are in the Chicago Police Department's gang database.

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