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California Counts, Report · February 2008

Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It?

Kristin Butcher and Anne Piehl

Immigrants are far less likely than the average U.S. native to commit crime in California, according to this issue of California Counts. For example, among men ages 18-40 ” the age group most likely to commit crime ” the U.S.-born are 10 times more likely than the foreign-born to be in jail or prison. Even among noncitizen men from Mexico ages 18-40 ” a group disproportionately likely to have entered the United States illegally ” the authors find very low rates of institutionalization. Such findings suggest that longstanding fears of immigration as a threat to public safety are unjustified.


Criminal Justice Population