Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Report by National Institute of Justice: Crime and Victimization of Hispanic Adolescents

The National Institute of Justice has published a study that is an interesting read for those that work with Hispanic clients, especially youth in criminal justice. The report, entitled "Crime and Victimization Among Hispanic Adolescents: A Multilevel Longitudinal Study of Acculturation and Segmented Assimilation",is a study that illustrates the vast differences in the immigrant experience and how those differences affect Hispanic youth involvement in crime, both as victims and offenders. As it turns out, environment is a big factor: youth that live in inner-city poor neighborhoods tend to experience downward "cultural assimilation" and become involved in higher numbers in the criminal justice system. Here is an excerpt from the introduction. The report is free (available here):

This study represents a comprehensive effort to illustrate the divergent experiences of first-, second-, and third-generation Hispanic child and adolescent immigrants with respect to their self-reported violent victimization and involvement in criminal offending. This project is unique in that it synthesizes a vast amount of research toward the goal of understanding the complex linkages between immigration, culture, social structure, and criminological outcomes. Utilizing segmented assimilation to inform our study, we explore how neighborhood context, individual propensities, and situational factors impact crime and victimization among Latino youth. From a neighborhood perspective, segmented assimilation theory suggests that immigrant youth acculturate differentially depending on community context. Those who acculturate within disadvantaged, inner-city contexts, without strong family ties and support from other co-ethnics are likely to experience downward assimilation, resulting in more involvement in crime and other forms of deviance. We also examine how individual and situational factors impact the relationships between acculturation and crime and violent victimization. Using three well researched predictors of crime and victimization (i.e., delinquent peers, self-control, and parenting) we investigate how these influence the associations among assimilation status, acculturation context, and crime and victimization.

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