A Rand Study is being mis characterized by an LA Times Op-Ed and LA Times ANTI Blog. The study says "Deportable immigrants released from the Los Angeles County jail system were no more likely to be rearrested than similar nondeportable immigrants released during the same period" yet the LA Times Blog and an LA Time Article say: "Illegal immigrants who have been deported at least once from the United States are far more likely than other immigrants to repeatedly commit crimes." The LA Times Op-Ed and Blog took one bullet from the study and spun it in order to create their mischaracterization. See both articles below.
Recidivism No Higher Among Deportable Immigrants Than Similar Nondeportable Immigrants
Deportable immigrants released from the Los Angeles County jail system were no more likely to be rearrested than similar nondeportable immigrants released during the same period, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today. Researchers say the findings suggest that illegal and other immigrants subject to deportation who are released into the community from a local jail do not pose a greater threat to public safety than non-deportable immigrants released at the same time. Researchers studied nearly 1,300 male immigrants released from jail over a 30-day period and followed them for a year to see whether there were differences in recidivism between the deportable and nondeportable immigrants. Immigrants who were deportable — deemed so because they entered the United States illegally, overstayed their visas or committed other violations — were no more likely to be rearrested during the study period when compared to similar legal or naturalized immigrants. “Our findings run counter to the notion that illegal immigrants are more likely than other immigrants to cycle in and out of the local criminal justice system,” said Laura Hickman, assistant professor with the Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute at Portland State University and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
The LA Times took were able to SPIN their articles based on one line in this report.
Hickman and co-author Marika Suttorp of RAND found that a higher percentage of deportable immigrants were rearrested at least once during the following year — 43 percent compared to 35 percent. But when researchers compared deportable immigrants to similar nondeportable immigrants — considering factors such as age, ethnicity, country of birth, and type of criminal arrest — the differences disappeared. Criminal justice research has shown that some groups are more likely than others to be rearrested. For example, younger people and those jailed on drug charges have higher rates of recidivism than other groups.
The results of this study are significant because the researchers were able to show that the difference in the simple percentages of rearrest between the groups (43 versus 35) was due to the influence of the other factors like age, ethnicity, and criminal history related to recidivism. When these factors were accounted for in the analysis, immigration status had no influence on rearrest.
Here is the LA Times Article. It takes one Leap from the point of the article and begins the mischaracterization:
Illegal immigrants who return after deportation commit more crimes, study finds
In L.A. County, 75% of inmates who reenter the U.S. engage in more criminal activity within a year. The rate is less for illegal immigrants who have never been ordered to leave.
By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer September 8, 2008
Illegal immigrants who have been deported at least once from the United States are far more likely than other immigrants to repeatedly commit crimes, according to a study by the nonprofit Rand Corp.The data indicated that illegal immigrants, overall, were not a greater crime risk, according to the study, which looked at all inmates released from Los Angeles County Jail for a month in 2002.
Here is the LA Times Blog that totally skews the actual Study:
LA Times Blog writes:
Title: Illegal immigrants in our jails: Fuel to the fire
L.A. law enforcement officials have focused increasing resources on identifying and deporting illegal immigrants in the jail system. Now, there is some fresh evidence on the problem: According to a Rand study, illegal immigrants deported from the jail are highly likely to commit more crimes.
Anna (OpEd Author) did an interesting story this summer going inside the jail and looking at the process for deporting illegal immigrants. The report is likely to add to the debate over Jamiel's Law, which would permit Los Angeles police officers to arrest gang members for breaking U.S. immigration law.
It is no wonder that Arizonian, a commenter on my blog brought the LA Times Blog to me and asked me to blog about it. The entire study is mischaracterized and spun in an opposite direction. If we are going to use studies in our discussions, we need to look at the studies, make sure they are unbiased then discuss them from an open, honest perspective.