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February 19, 2009

Report documents new demographics of federal criminal justice system

As detailed in this Los Angeles Times article, a new study details that Latinos now comprise the largest group of offenders prosecuted in federal court:

Driven by a crackdown on illegal immigration, Latinos now make up by far the largest percentage of offenders sentenced in federal courts, according to a study released Wednesday.

Latinos accounted for 40% of all people sentenced to federal crimes in 2007, even though they made up only 13% of the U.S. adult population, according to the study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. In 1991, Latinos made up 24% of all sentenced offenders.

The study's authors, Mark Hugo Lopez and Michael T. Light, attribute the change in part to the increase in the undocumented immigrant population and to federal enforcement programs such as Operation Gatekeeper, which targeted illegal crossers along the Southwest border.

In 2007, nearly half of Latino offenders were sentenced for an immigration offense, up from 1 in 5 in 1991. Immigration offenses represented nearly a quarter of all federal convictions in 2007, up from 7% in 1991. "There was a very sharp rise of immigration offenses as a share of all offenses," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center.

The full report, which is titled "A Rising Share: Hispanics and Federal Crime," is available at this link

February 19, 2009 at 08:53 AM | Permalink

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