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The Role of Deportation in the Incarceration of Immigrants

  • Kristin F. Butcher
  • Anne Morrison Piehl

Using data on all new admissions to California state prisons in 1986, 1990, and 1996, we find that the foreign born have a very different offense mix from native-born inmates, with foreigners much more likely to be serving time for drug offenses. We document and discuss many of the substantial changes in the enforcement environment over this period, including the war on drugs, changes in public law expanding the classes eligible for deportation, and increases in the level of resources appropriated for enforcement activities targeting deportable aliens. These developments have resulted in much greater attention by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the incarceration of the foreign born. By 1996, the definition of deportable' was such that it covered essentially all noncitizens in the California prison system. Throughout the period, those foreign-born inmates designated by the California Department of Corrections to be released to INS custody serve substantially (6-12 percent) longer terms (conditional upon sentence length) than natives or other similar' foreigners. These longer terms of incarceration impose substantial costs on the state.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6974.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6974.

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Date of creation: Feb 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Issues in the Economics of Immigration, Borjas, George, ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000, pp. 351-385.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6974
Note: LS PE CH
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Daniel P. Kessler & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "What Do Prosecutors Maximize? An Analysis of Drug Offenders and Concurrent Jurisdiction," NBER Working Papers 6602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kessler, Daniel P & Piehl, Anne Morrison, 1998. "The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 256-76, October.
  3. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1997. "Recent Immigrants: Unexpected Implications for Crime and Incarceration," NBER Working Papers 6067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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