Prior research has shown that immigrants have lower rates of offending, arrest, and incarceration than nonimmigrants. However, that work hasn't examined whether this holds true for recidivism. A new study compared recidivism rates of foreign-born and native-born individuals formerly incarcerated for felonies and released from prisons in Florida. It found that immigrants are significantly less likely to reoffend by committing another felony than their nonimmigrant peers.
The study, by researchers at Florida State University, appears in Justice Quarterly, a publication of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
Immigrants - Rate - Peers - Study - Myth
"In concluding that immigrants reoffend at a lower rate than their nonimmigrant peers, our study continues to dispel the myth of the criminal immigrant," explains Marin R. Wenger, assistant professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University, who coauthored the study. "Our findings suggest that policymakers and others should ignore the heated rhetoric directed toward foreign-born individuals and, in a time of limited resources, focus on groups for which reducing recidivism would translate into safer communities rather than focusing on immigrants."
Using data from the Florida Department of Corrections, the study compared recidivism rates of 192,556 immigrants and nonimmigrants formerly incarcerated for felonies and released from Florida prisons between 2004 and 2011. Of the total, 188,677 were nonimmigrants and 3,879 were immigrants. Researchers found that 32% of nonimmigrants were reconvicted of a felony offence within three years of release, compared to only 19% of immigrants. Recidivism was defined as reconviction for a felony offence with a new sentence imposed within three years of release.
Differences - Rates - Recidivism - Groups - Factors
To determine whether differences in rates of recidivism between the two groups could be accounted for by other factors associated with criminality, the...
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