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NCJ Number: 76755 Find in a Library
Title: Hispanics in the Criminal Justice System - The 'Nonexistent' Problem
Journal: Agenda  Volume:9  Issue:3  Dated:(May/June 1979)  Pages:16-20
Author(s): J Mandel
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The problem of the underrepresentation of Hispanics in criminal justice statistics is discussed.
Abstract: The little evidence that is available suggests that Hispanics have an unusually high arrest and incarceration rate. However, since the patterns, styles, and scope of their crime are concealed, an effective response to this group's problems is difficult. Hispanic background is rarely asked or reported in the six major sources of criminal justice statistics. Under the arrest statistics compiled in the Uniform Crime Reports before 1980, Hispanics are listed as 'white.' In addition, most local statistics ignore Hispanics as a separate group, so that both locally and nationally almost nothing is known about the arrests of Hispanics. Court statistics provide less information. Even the LEAA-funded Prosecutor's Management Information System which is being implemented in all States, includes information on Hispanics in only four jurisdictions. The statistics on prisoners in Federal institutions do not delineate Hispanic background, and only a few local surveys provide such information. However, information from an LEAA-sponsored survey of prisoners in State correctional facilities in 1974 indicates that the rate of incarceration of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans is greater than that for whites and less than that for blacks. Specific information on Hispanics is often also lacking in surveys of juvenile delinquency and victimization and in other public surveys because ethnicity is usually deemed irrelevant. With such basic information lacking, the establishment of action programs and an understanding of the causes and consequences of crime are impeded. Data tables are included.
Index Term(s): Criminal justice statistics; Data collections; Hispanic Americans; Statistical bias
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