April 7th, 2009
10:35 AM ET

Hispanics and the criminal justice system: low confidence, high exposure

Mark Hugo Lopez
Pew Hispanic Center

At a time when Latinos are interacting more than ever with police, courts and prisons, their confidence in the U.S. criminal justice system is closer to the low levels expressed by blacks than to the high levels expressed by whites, according to a pair of nationwide surveys by the Pew Research Center.

Six-in-ten (61%) Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that the police in their local communities will do a good job enforcing the law, compared with 78% of whites and 55% of blacks. Just under half (46%) of Hispanics say they have confidence that police officers will not use excessive force on suspects, compared with 73% of whites and 38% of blacks. Similarly, just under half of Hispanics say they are confident that police officers will treat Hispanics fairly (45%) and that courts will treat Hispanics fairly (49%). In comparison, 74% of whites and 37% of blacks say they have confidence that the police will treat blacks and whites equally.


Filed under: Hispanic • Justice Department
soundoff (3 Responses)

    It is a shame that citizens have to watch out for both criminals and police. I also think great point that individual's should learn a majority of English before coming to live in the USA, but a shoot first policy is absolutly wrong. It disgusted me.

    April 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  2. Road goes both ways

    Clearly the scope of the issue here is far reaching beyond this comment, whoever, we obviously need to work on education in San Diego. I don't have to be a genius to say education is key to true understanding. We can't hire biglingual police officers if there aren't any applying for the jobs. Likewise, hispanics in San Diego, CA USA should learn a few more words of the English language before trying to "make it" in an English speaking country. I am fluent in Spanish and English and I would never have moved to a Spanish speaking country before learning a large portion of vocabulary and phrases in the language of the country I lived in.

    April 7, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  3. REAL

    In San Diego county, law enforcement has earned this lack of trust by Hispanics and other "minority" cultures. Year after year, you hear of the San Diego Sheriff and San Diego Police shooting suspects and being let off the hook by the D.A.'s office. It's well known that both the Sheriff's dept. and the police dept. lack bilingual officers as well, in a border county where Spanish is pretty much the dominate language! Many "suspects" are often caught on the raw end of a police beat down, mainly because they don't speak English and can't understand the commands. San Diego has a "shoot first" policy if you ask the average joe in the street. It's a shame that in America's Finest City, we have to watch our backs for the police and the criminals.

    April 7, 2009 at 12:39 pm |