SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — More than half of all people sentenced to serve time in U.S. federal prisons so far this year for felony crimes were Hispanic, a major demographic shift swollen by immigration offenses, according to a new government report released Tuesday.
Hispanics already outnumber all other ethnic groups sent to prison for committing federal felonies.
Hispanics reached a new milestone for the first time this year, making up the majority of all federal offenders in the first nine months of fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Hispanics comprised 50.3 percent of all people sentenced in that time period, blacks 19.7 percent and whites 26.4 percent.
In comparison, last year Hispanics made up just 16 percent of the whole U.S. population.
The commission's statistics also reveal that sentences for felony immigration crimes — which include illegal crossing and other crimes such as alien smuggling — were responsible for most of the increase in the number of Hispanics sent to prison over the last decade.
The demographic change in who is being sent to federal prison has already prompted debate among commissioners and experts studying the impact of expedited court hearings along the border.
"Statistics like this have to start drawing attention to this country's immigration policies and what we're doing, if this is one of the results," said Fordham University Law School professor Deborah Denno, an expert on racial disparities in the criminal justice system. "The implications for Hispanics are huge when you think of the number of families affected by having their breadwinners put away for what in some cases would be considered a non-violent offense."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
Hundreds of statewide faith leaders will march Saturday afternoon to the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where they will protest immigration policies that separated more than 2,300 children from their parents.
The San Diego Humane Society today urged residents to volunteer their homes as foster spaces for the influx of animals typically lost after Fourth of July.
A man was critically injured Friday night when he chased a ball into the street and was hit by a car.
Clayton Richard pitched three-hit ball over six innings for his fourth consecutive win and the San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Friday night.
A powerful show of support for migrants being held in detention facilities has hundreds of interfaith leaders gathered Friday night for a vigil and demonstration at the border.
As the number of migrants in custody continues to grow, the Navy is making plans to house thousands of them in temporary shelters at military bases.
A man suspected of threatening deadly violence while robbing three San Diego-area banks over the last two weeks was indicted by a grand jury Friday on a slate of federal charges.
On Friday, more pups across the country will join their masters at the office, gym and other businesses for the 20th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day.
There is controversy over a TIME Magazine cover showing a crying toddler superimposed next an image of President Trump.