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Impact of Foreign-Born Inmates on the New York State Department of Correctional Services

NCJ Number
David D. Clark
Date Published
39 pages
This report provides statistics and information on the number, country-of-origin, and commitment offense of foreign-born inmates in New York State correctional facilities between April 1, 1985 and December 31, 1997; potential problems associated with an increasing foreign-born prison population are discussed.
Between April 1, 1985 and December 31, 1997, New York State's overall inmate population increased 100 percent. While the number of inmates born in the United States increased 91 percent during this period, the number of foreign-born inmates increased by 242 percent. As of December 31, 1997, there were 9,003 foreign-born inmates in custody, 13 percent of the total inmate population. The foreign-born inmates were from 117 countries; 77 percent of the inmates who claimed foreign birth came from either the Caribbean or South America. Nearly two-thirds of the foreign-born inmates were born in one of four countries: the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Cuba, or Jamaica. Foreign-born inmates were more likely to be convicted of drug offenses and more serious felonies than inmates born in the United States. As the foreign-born prison population continues to increase and be imprisoned for a longer time than inmates born in the United States due to the nature of their commitment offenses, correctional resources are being seriously strained as a result of the increased demand for housing and programming. As only 28 percent of the foreign-born inmates come from countries in which English is the predominant language, this presents problems for security and programming. 13 tables and appended listing of foreign countries by region