FEBRUARY 19, 2009
Nearly half of all criminals sentenced in U.S. federal courts are Latino (mostly illegal immigrants), an astounding number considering it’s more than triple their share of the nation’s adult population.
A new report published by a group dedicated to studying the nation’s Hispanic population, reveals that 40% of federal offenders are Latino, making them by far the largest percentage of offenders sentenced in the system. By contrast, only 13% of the U.S. adult population is Hispanic.
Using statistics from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the 17-page report states that the number of Latino offenders sentenced in federal court nearly quadrupled during the study period (from 1991 to 2007) and that 72% were illegal immigrants. Not surprisingly, most were sentenced in courts located near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Most of the Hispanics federally sentenced in 2007 (48%) violated immigration laws, but a substantial amount (37%) went to prison for drug offenses. As a result, Hispanics represent nearly one in three inmates incarcerated in federal prisons that year.
Featuring informative charts, graphs and tables breaking down crimes by ethnic group, the report attributes the “dramatically altered” ethnic composition of federal offenders to a sharp growth in illegal immigration and increased enforcement of immigration laws.
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