Four 16-year-olds are standing on a street corner in Richland, Miss., all wearing identical hoodies. One of them has a little more than 30 grams of marijuana on him. A police officer stops the young men, believing they are a gang because they're dressed alike, and finds the pot. Under normal circumstances, the young man with the pot would face a possible three-year sentence under state law. But the officer is not done. He takes all of them to jail, charging each with gang activity because they are dressed alike and have similar tattoos. That means each of them can go to prison for both the pot charge, plus an additional sentence of five to 15 years, if prosecutors can convince a jury they are part of a Mississippi gang. The gang may not exactly be...
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Never Back Down: Mississippi Escalates War on Gangs