A Closer Look at the Paradox: Examining Immigration and Youth Reoffending in Arizona

Kevin A. Wright, Nancy Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The bulk of existing research on immigration and crime suggests that, counter to a number of theoretical perspectives and overall public and political opinion, indicators of immigration are either unrelated or negatively related to criminal behavior. Notably absent from this line of research is assessments of the impact of immigration on the social outcomes of ex-offenders and youth. Youthful ex-offenders in particular represent a vulnerable population that could be expected to benefit most from the protective effects of immigration as identified in the literature. Accordingly, in the present study we determine the importance of concentrated immigration (net of individual-level factors) in reoffending for a sample of previously arrested youth in the state of Arizona. In addition, we examine whether the effects of immigration on reoffending behavior are contingent on the individual characteristics (e.g. race, ethnicity, and gender) of youth. The implications for the ongoing theoretical, empirical, and policy debates surrounding immigration and crime are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-904
Number of pages23
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • immigrant paradox
  • immigration
  • youth reoffending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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