Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

The Changing Pathways of Hispanic Youths Into Adulthood

VII. Hispanic Male Incarceration Has Increased

In 1970, 1.5% of young Hispanic males were incarcerated (Figure 14).12 By 1990 and beyond, 3% of young Hispanic males were in correctional facilities. Native-born Hispanic males are significantly more likely to be in prison or jail than foreign-born Hispanic males.13 Male incarceration rates for white and black youths peaked in 2000. About 1.5% of young white males were incarcerated in 2000, an increase from 1.1% in 1970. Among young black males, more than 9% were incarcerated in 2000, an increase from 4.4% in 1970. Between 2000 and 2007, the young black male incarceration rate declined to 6.9%.

  1. Again, in this report “incarcerated” refers to those institutionalized in prisons and jails, hospitals, and juvenile institutions. Most institutionalized young males are in correctional facilities. See Appendix B for details.
  2. In 2007, 69% of young Hispanic males incarcerated in correctional facilities were native-born and 31% were foreign-born. Lopez and Light (2009) report that in 2007 Latinos without U.S. citizenship were 72% of all Latinos sentenced in federal courts. So it is likely that Hispanic immigrants comprised the vast majority of Hispanic federal prison inmates in 2007. However, the tallies of Hispanic males incarcerated in this report refer to incarceration in state and local correctional facilities as well as federal prisons. More than nine-in-ten prisoners are incarcerated in state prisons and local jails. Among young Hispanic men incarcerated in federal, state and local correctional facilities, a majority were native-born in 2007.
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