Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
It is difficult to determine the exact number of foreign nationals incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails, since it is not always easy to differentiate legal and illegal immigrants from U.S. citizens. Also, many state records are not accurate enough to provide precise statistics. Even so, certain trends can be identified. First, citizens of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Ecuador, Haiti, and the Republic of China represent the largest sources of foreign inmates in U.S. prisons. Second, most foreign nationals are imprisoned for drug offenses and immigration act violations. Finally, since the 1980s, the number of incarcerated noncitizens has been steadily growing. In particular, the number of Arabs in U.S. penal facilities has dramatically increased since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Since the mid-1980s, a number of laws have been passed that have caused the numbers of ...