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Deportable Aliens Released From the Los Angeles County Jail: A Comparison of 1990, 1995, and 2002 Release Cohorts

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2005
54 pages

This study explored the characteristics of deportable aliens released from the Los Angeles Country Jail over a 30-day period in 2002 and compared these results to similar data obtained in 1990 and 1995.


The main findings indicated that while the overall size of the foreign-born release cohort was similar in 1995 and 2002, the foreign-born inmate population actually declined 7 percent between 1995 and 2002. The proportion of deportable aliens among all foreign-born releases also declined 5 percent during the same period. Mexicans represented the vast majority of deportable aliens in 2002, followed by El Salvadorans. The proportion of previously deported aliens in the release cohort increased significantly between 1990 and 2002. The average length of jail stay for deportable aliens was 11 days longer in 2002 than it was in 1995. In all three-time periods, the majority of released deportable aliens were convicted offenders. In both 1990 and 1995, immigration agents took all eligible deportable aliens into custody whereas in 2002, immigration agents only took 57 percent of eligible deportable aliens into custody. In 1990 and 2002, 75 percent of those deportable aliens either agreed to voluntarily leave the country or were ordered formally deported compared to 82 percent of deportable aliens in 1995. While the findings seem to indicate a growth in the problem of criminally involved deportable aliens in Los Angeles County, the apparent growth could possibly be due to changes in Federal immigration legislation over the study period. The results reveal that deportable aliens still represent a substantial proportion of male releasees, which justifies the HI-CAAP partnership effort to improve local-Federal cooperation in addressing the problem. Research methodology in 2002 involved the use of official records of detainers and custody transfers to immigration to identify the sample of male foreign-born inmates released between August 4 and September 2, 2002. Statistical analysis techniques were used to compare the 2002 data on foreign-born inmates to similar data obtained in 1990 and 1995 in Los Angeles County. Tables, figures, footnotes, references

Date Published: September 1, 2005