March 23, 2016

Source: Bigstock

Across the country, the incarceration rate for Hispanics is 289 vs. 113 for whites (vs. 709 for blacks). East Coast mulatto Hispanics from the Caribbean appear to be more crime-prone than Sun Belt mestizo Hispanics from Mesoamerica.

The recent decline in Hispanic crime rates in California is striking, especially when compared with the savagery across the border in Mexico during the same years. Estimates of the death toll in the Mexican drug war between 2006 and 2013 center around 120,000.

My guess is that the opposing trends are symbiotic. When my father and I used to drive around Mexico on vacations in the 1960s through 1980s, the crime rate may have been lower in Mexico than in California. Back then crime didn”€™t pay in semi­dictatorial Mexico but did pay in progressive California, where American­-born Chicanos flocked to join gangs to do battle with black gangs.

Since America lengthened prison sentences and Mexico wrested cocaine smuggling away from the Colombian cartels, though, crime is more likely to pay south of the border. Immigrant convicts who get deported after their sentences are up may now find it more profitable to stay in Mexico to pursue careers in drugs.

Also, America may be getting a less troublesome sort of immigrant from Mexico since the 1996 reforms restricted welfare. Mexicans in the United States increasingly come from the smaller, more docile, more Indian peoples of central and southern Mexico, while the Chicanos of a generation ago tended to be bigger, whiter, and from the more violent lands of northern Mexico.

This doesn”€™t mean that recent immigrants are all that law­-abiding, but they do tend to attract less police attention. Death rates from heroin overdoses, for example, have skyrocketed in the American heartland since the Mexican drug pushers arrived. Sam Quinones”€™ award­-winning book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic documents how a Jalisco gang of black-tar heroin retailers has spread overdose deaths by staying off the cops”€™ radar. Also, they avoid having anything to do with African-Americans, whom the Mexican smack dealers stereotype as being prone to theft and violence. (When accurately quoting FBI crime statistics is criminal, only criminals will accurately quote FBI crime statistics.)

There has been much denunciation by Democrats and the more Jeb Bush-­like Republicans of mass incarceration, but The Color of Crime points out that imprisonment is in decline:

The incarceration rate peaked at 788 per 100,000 US residents in 2007 and declined to 730 by 2013.

Until the post­-Ferguson spike in black­-on-­black crime, it was looking as if imprisonment would begin to fall rapidly as the murderers of the crack era of a quarter century ago began to die off or be released.

Those who rage against “€œmass incarceration”€ would be more persuasive if they first apologized for what their ideological predecessors did to America in the 1960s and 1970s, and then explained why, exactly, they aren”€™t going to do the same thing all over again.


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