Offending Behavior, Drug Use, and Mental Health Among Foreign-Born versus U.S. Born Latino Criminal Justice Clients

J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Jun;19(3):674-685. doi: 10.1007/s10903-016-0542-8.


Little is known about the offending behavior and recidivism factors of Latinos by nativity (U.S. born, foreign-born). The present study focused on Latinos in community corrections (n = 201) in Miami, Florida, and examined differences in criminal activity, drug use, and mental health by nativity. Data were collected utilizing convenience sampling between June 2014 and December 2015. The research question was: what are the offending, drug use, and mental health histories of Latinos involved in community corrections? Participants were mostly male (n = 120; 59.7%), White (n = 105; 52.2%), and Cuban (n = 97; 48.3%). U.S. born community corrections clients (n = 141) were more likely to report more lifetime and recent criminal activity; and more likely to report lifetime and recent drug use behavior than foreign-born Latinos (n = 60). No differences were found in recent mental health. Correctional healthcare should tailor services such as substance abuse treatment differently toward U.S. born and foreign-born Latinos.

Keywords: Criminal justice; Foreign-born; Hispanic; Latino; U.S. born.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Criminals / psychology
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • United States
  • Young Adult