New Findings on Immigrants, Crime, & Incarceration

<p>A new report from a non-profit, non-partisan California think tank finds that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, have lower rates of incarceration and criminal activity in California than the U.S.-born population.</p>
February 29, 2008, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"The report by the Public Policy Institute of California, released Monday (Feb. 25), also suggests the foreign-born population, which makes up more than a third of the state's adults, plays a disproportionately smaller role in serious crime.

"Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It?" gives one of the clearest glimpses yet into the impact of immigrants and immigration on the state's justice system.

It also aims to dispel the perception that cities with large foreign-born populations are criminal hot beds, with several California cities showing a dip in police activity amid recent immigration waves."

"The type of people who are immigrating are less likely to commit crimes because they're here for jobs," said Kristin Butcher, a professor at Wellesley College and a fellow for the non-partisan policy research group, and one of the report's co-authors."

"Among their findings:

• Foreign-born men make up about 35 percent of the state's adult male population, but they are roughly 17 percent of the state's overall prison inmates.

• U.S.-born men are jailed in state prisons at a rate more than three times higher than foreign-born men and are 10 times more likely to land behind bars."

However, a national Hispanic website reported last year that "according to a new report by The Sentencing Project, Hispanics are incarcerated twice as often as non Hispanic whites. The report, Uneven Justice: State Rates of Incarceration by Race and Ethnicity, examines the racial and ethnic dynamics of incarceration in the U.S..."

Thanks to Loren Spiekerman

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 in San Jose Mercury News
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