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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
Between April 1, 1985, and December 31, 1998, the overall inmate population of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DCS) increased by 102 percent; while the number of inmates born in the United States increased by 94 percent during this period, the number of foreign-born inmates increased sharply by 249 percent.
As of December 31, 1998, 9,180 foreign-born inmates were under DCS custody and represented 13 percent of the total inmate population. Foreign-born inmates came from 126 different countries, although 77 percent who claimed foreign birth came from either the Caribbean or South America. Nearly two-thirds of foreign-born inmates were born in one of four countries--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 to be imprisoned for a longer time than inmates born in the United States, due to the nature of their commitment offenses, DCS resources are being seriously strained as a result of the increased demand for housing and programming. An appendix contains a list of foreign countries by region from which foreign-born inmates under DCS custody came. 13 tables