LATINOS DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BY CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND CRIME
Latinos are heavily over-represented in the criminal justice system and as victims of crime, according to a new report from Californians for Safety and Justice and director of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute at USC, Roberto Suro. (The report compiles existing data and research from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and elsewhere.)
The report found that Latinos are murdered at a rate more than twice that of whites in California, and are significantly more likely to be killed by a stranger. Latinos are 44% more likely to be locked up than whites for the same crimes. And Latinos awaiting trial in California also have a higher chance of being denied bail than whites, and average bail amounts are about $25,000 higher than both whites and African Americans. Latinos are also given mandatory minimum sentences more than any other race.
Here are some of the other statistics:
Latinos are more likely to be shot and burglarized than whites.
Hate crimes against Latinos rise as immigration increases.
California Latinos experienced more repeat crimes than survivors overall.
Half of Latino survivors are unaware of recovery services.
And here are some of the notable recommendations from the report:
• Arrest rates vs. convictions: California provides data on arrest rates by type of crime and racial or ethnic group, but data are lacking on conviction rates by types of crime and different populations. There is a need for comparative data on the first time someone is arrested or convicted.
• Community reintegration: Although research exists on how effectively Latino youth reintegrate into the community, there is a lack of documentation on how well Latino adults are reentering society.
• Racial Impact Assessments: Iowa, Connecticut and Oregon have laws requiring racial impact
statements before changing or adding criminal laws, as a way to guard against unintended consequences for people of a certain race or ethnicity. A racial impact statement is a nonpartisan analysis that examines the impact
of justice policy changes on racial and ethnic populations. For example, when new legislation is proposed in California, such an analysis could be conducted by an existing state agency (e.g., the State Interagency Team Workgroup to Eliminate Disparities & Disproportionality) and reported back to legislative committees on the potential adverse effects of the proposed bill.
• Racial profiling: Some law enforcement agencies have strong definitions of what constitutes racial profiling— and training on how to avoid the practice. Such standards should be in place in jurisdictions across the state and nation. Additional best practices in policing Latino communities across the country include Spanish-speaking liaisons (if officers do not speak Spanish), specific education and training of officers, Spanish hotlines and increased officer participation in community events.
• Risk assessments: When someone is arrested, determining their individual risk as they await trial (to reoffend, to show up to court, etc.) is key to managing jail space and minimizing undue disruption to families. Consistent use of proven risk-assessment tools can help local jurisdictions effectively manage their jail populations while also preventing unnecessary or biased decisions from disproportionately affecting Latinos
(The report also notes that while it focuses on Latinos’ contact with the justice system, African Americans do face greater disparities overall.)
KPCC’s Rina Palta has more on the report and its significance. Here are some clips:
Lead researcher Roberto Suro, director of USC’s Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, compiled public data available on Latinos’ interactions with the criminal justice system.
The data, he said, shows that “for Latinos, the criminal justice system has this process of cumulative disadvantage, where the disadvantages start at even the first encounters with the system.”
But, until recently at least, criminal justice reform hasn’t prominently featured in Latino electoral politics, Suro said.
“In Southern California now, you have Latinos in positions of power or in positions of advocacy in a way that wasn’t the case twenty or thirty years ago when big decisions were made about a strategy of mass incarceration,” Suro said.
NEW TRAINING PROGRAM TO HELP LA COUNTY FOSTER PARENTS FIGHT CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to create a training program to teach foster parents and group home workers how to identify kids who may be victims of sex-trafficking and how to intervene on their behalf.
Supes Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe recommended the program, and have both been working to put a focus on child sex-trafficking in LA County.
The LA Times’ Abby Sewell has the story. Here’s a clip:
The supervisors voted Tuesday to ask county staff to work with local colleges and universities to develop a training program that will become mandatory for foster care providers.
“The county should move as quickly as possible to help safeguard the county’s most vulnerable population from being sexually exploited,” Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe wrote in a memo to their colleagues.
County officials said state funds may be available to carry out the training. Staff will report back in 60 days on the costs to implement the training countywide.
AND A REMINDER OF HOW MANY KIDS ARE TRAFFICKED…
Time Magazine’s Nolan Feeny has the story on the FBI’s weeklong, nationwide child sex-trafficking bust that resulted in the rescue of 168 exploited children and the arrest of 281 pimps.
UPDATE ON BILL THAT WOULD INTRODUCE MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES TO CALIFORNIA JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Last week, California bill that would impose the first mandatory minimum sentences in the state’s juvenile justice system, SB 838, stalled in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The bill would have required two-year minimum out-of-home sentence on kids convicted of sexually assaulting someone who is unconscious or disabled.
On Tuesday, the committee passed the bill after the two-year mandatory minimum sentence portion was removed. Now, kids convicted of assaulting someone who is incapacitated will receive mandatory treatment and counseling. The bill still takes away the anonymity of kids charged with this crime, and includes a sentence enhancement of one year for kids who share texts or pictures of the crime.
SF Chronicle’s Melody Gutierrez has the story. Here’s a clip:
The bill was amended to take out language that would have required a two-year minimum sentence at juvenile hall or another out-of-home detention facility for teens convicted of sexual assault against a victim who is incapacitated. The bill now would require mandatory rehabilitative treatment and counseling, which could be accomplished while living at home.
SB838 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, maintained provisions that would open juvenile court to the public in cases where teens are prosecuted under Audrie’s Law and creates a one-year sentence enhancement for those convicted of sexual assaults who share pictures or texts of the crime to harass or humiliate the victim.
Last week, the Assembly’s public safety committee delayed a vote on the bill after it was evident lawmakers would not support the mandatory minimum sentence provision.
Opponents of the bill argued mandatory minimum sentences create a “one-size fits all” model that emulates broken adult court sentencing laws. Mandatory minimum sentences have never been introduced in the state’s juvenile court system and many states and the federal government have begun to roll back the use of mandatory minimums in the adult court system.
Beall said he would have preferred to keep the mandatory minimum requirements, but he faced a deadline this week to pass the bill. The bill had previously passed the Senate unanimously.
NOVEMBER GENERAL ELECTION RUNOFF IN STORE FOR JIM MCDONNELL AND PAUL TANAKA IN BID FOR SHERIFF
The mail-in ballots have been counted, and appear to confirm a November runoff between between Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell and former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka for the office LA County Sheriff. The Board of Supervisors will make the results official on July 1.
The LA Daily News’ Thomas Himes has the story. Here’s a clip:
McDonnell — the overwhelming victor in the June 3 primary election — finished just 0.65 percent short of the 50 percent plus 1 mark needed to skip the Nov. 3 election and be sworn in as head of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department.
Tanaka claimed 15.09 percent of votes to beat out third-place finisher Bob Olmsted and stay in the hunt. The department’s former second-in-command built the race’s largest campaign coffer, collecting more than $900,000 in contributions. McDonnell raised more than $760,000.
With thousands of ballots uncounted on election night, the ultimate outcome was not certain until the final count was released Wednesday.
Graphs: Traci Sclesinger, “Racial and Ethnic Disparity in Pretrial Criminal Processing,” Justice Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 2.