Note: This is a guest post from one of Tides’ projects, Californians for Safety and Justice, edited for clarity.


“Cumulative disadvantage.”

That’s the term we used – and troubling discovery we made – in a new report about Latino experiences with crime and the justice system. Latino Voices: The Impact of Crime and Criminal Justice Policies on Latinos reveals that most public safety policies don’t align with many Latino needs and values – and highlights growing calls for change.

Despite representing a larger portion of California’s population than whites, Latinos are dramatically overrepresented as crime victims – and in our courts, jails and prisons. Research shows that Latinos receive harsher treatment in arrests, pretrial proceedings and sentencing than whites, even when charged with the same offenses.

  • Latinos are murdered twice as much as whites in California — and more by strangers.
  • Latinos are more likely to be shot and burglarized than whites.
  • Hate crimes against Latinos rise as immigration increases.
  • Latinos awaiting trial were more likely to be denied bail, or their bail was set higher than African Americans or whites.
  • Latinos were 44% more likely to be incarcerated than whites for the same crimes.

These findings come at the time when state and national policymakers are looking to replace ineffective, costly prison-first approaches with solutions that actually prevent crime and create healthier communities.

That’s why we’re partnering with 10 Latino organizations to further findings of this report – and recommendations for how to more effectively, fairly improve safety in our communities. Please visit www.SafeandJust.org/Latinos to view the report and learn more about this effort.

And if you’re on Twitter, we’re starting a series of Twitter Chats on Tuesdays at Noon PT at @SafeandJust (hashtags #SchoolsNotPrisons, #LatinoVoices). We’ll host a discussion with our lead partner, the National Council of La Raza, on the report findings and ways to pursue smarter justice strategies for all.