U.S. citizens are twice as likely to land in New Jersey's prisons as legal and illegal immigrants, according to new data that counter some of the most widely perceived notions about the link between immigration and crime.
Non-U.S. citizens make up 10 percent of the state's overall population, but just 5 percent of the 22,623 inmates in prison as of July 2007, according to an analysis of New Jersey Department of Corrections and U.S. Census data by The Star-Ledger.
Immigration officials have been "scouring" the prison rolls to find illegal immigrants in prison. This find did not occur. The statistics fall directly in line with several other new studies by sociologists that consistently have found the immigrant incarceration rates equal or lower to that of U.S. citizens. The findings contradict one long-held conception about immigrants and crime.
"I first got into this because I heard all these terrible complaints that immigrants were a big part of the crime problem," said Anne Morrison Piehl, an economics professor at Rutgers University who has researched incarceration rates among immigrants in California.
"When you look at incarceration rates, you find immigrants much less likely than the native born to be incarcerated," Piehl added. "Once you control for the fact that immigrants are generally younger and less educated, then the data you find is even more surprising."
Let's get one thing straight, however, New Jersey as well as other states imprison its citizens at rates that are astronomical. But, the myth that occurred as a result of the Newark slayings is untrue. Undocumented citizens and legal immigrants are not the crime problem that has been protrayed in the press. It is actually despicable what has occurred in the press. Read the rest of the article here.