Safety and Justice:
Latinos and Immigrants
America’s jails are overused. About 10.5 million people were admitted in 2016. Most are detained before being convicted of anything and thus are presumed innocent. Few are charged with violent crimes. Many belong in rehab instead of behind bars. Individuals and communities suffer. Taxpayer dollars get spent without results. Jails are misused too.
As people of color, as people of low incomes, Latinos often face circumstances that increase the odds of going to jail for a minor offense and for staying there, regardless of guilt or innocence. For noncitizens, even lawful permanent residents of longstanding, a jail stay can lead to deportation for an offense that a citizen could settle with a $100 fine.
In many local jurisdictions around the country things are changing. Innovation with evidence-based solutions lessens the collateral consequences of minor offenses and frees law enforcement officials to focus on serious crime. Substance abusers are heading to treatment centers. Decisions about pre-trial detention are informed by data-driven assessments and individual circumstances, not just by whether a person can make bail.
The goal is to reduce jail populations. Communities are becoming safer.