Latino Voices: The Impacts of Crime and Criminal Justice Policies on Latinos.
A new report shows that Latino voters support less incarceration and more rehabilitation. This week the Californians for Safety and Justice released a report, Latino Voices: The Impacts of Crime and Criminal Justice Policies on Latinos. The new report reveals that Latinos have surpassed whites to now make up the largest share of California’s population, yet are faced with unequal treatment at every stage of the justice system.
For Latinos in the justice system, the report reveals that they are less likely to be released from jail on their own recognizance while awaiting trial, and if they were offered bail, it is set at higher amounts than for African Americans and whites with similar charges. Latinos also were more likely to be incarcerated than whites when convicted of similar property and drug crimes, as well as more likely to be re-incarcerated if convicted for a repeat offense upon release.
The report finds that because of these disparities, Latinos increasingly support changes to the criminal justice system. Among the public opinion research in the report is a new survey (conducted by David Binder Research in May/June 2014) that finds that 47% of California Latino voters want officials to focus on policies that are less, not more (40%), reliant on incarceration. Eight in 10 Latinos (78%) support the state in shortening longer criminal sentences and using the savings in reduced prison costs to invest in education, health services and prevention.
Additionally, respondents believe the state should focus more on supervised probation and rehabilitation (51%), compared to those believing we should send more people to jail/prison (11%) or that the current mix is about right (32%). These findings are similar to those of a 2013 survey of Latino crime victims in California that found they wanted, by a two-to-one margin, California to focus more on supervised probation and rehabilitation than more prison and jail terms.
These report findings also echo the polling that we at the Campaign for Youth Justice have commissioned over the last several years. We applaud California for collecting this important information that will ultimately aid in moving the dialogue forward and promote progressive policy changes that are influenced by Latino voices..
To access the full report, visit http://www.safeandjust.org/latinos