Is Previous Removal from the United States a Marker for High Recidivism Risk?

Results from a 9-Year Follow-Up Study of Criminally Involved Unauthorized Immigrants

Published In: Criminal Justice Policy Review, 2014

Posted on RAND.org on December 16, 2014

by Laura J. Hickman, Jennifer S. Wong, Marika Booth

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The present study examines the long-term recidivism patterns of a group of unauthorized immigrants identified to be at high risk of recidivism. Using a sample of 517 male unauthorized immigrants, we used three measures of recidivism to assess 9-year rearrest differences between unauthorized immigrants who have and who have not been previously removed from the United States. Results indicate that prior removal was a significant risk marker for recidivism, with previously removed immigrants showing a higher likelihood of rearrest, a greater frequency of rearrest, and a more rapid time-to-first rearrest. While the present study does not establish whether previous removal is a consistent indicator of high recidivism, it suggests that this group of unauthorized immigrants may be worthy of review and policy consideration. Much potential value for law enforcement lies in the sharing of federal immigration records with academics to further study the outcomes of unauthorized immigrants.

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