Latino Public Opinion & Perception

DC protest

In public opinion surveys, Americans often display a split personality on criminal justice issues. They can support harsh punishments but also doubt that the prison system is effective at rehabilitating people. Latinos also display varied opinions, including paradoxes specific to their experiences with the justice system. They feel aggrieved about perceived mistreatment but also seek protection from the criminal justice system. Hispanics hold police responsible for controlling crime in their neighborhoods but at the same time regard law enforcement with a great degree of suspicion. Defying standard ideological and partisan categories, Latinos have strongly favored both gun control and, until recently, the death penalty. Latinos' views tend to fall somewhere in between blacks and whites, who are more clearly polarized (see footnote). Finally, Latino attitudes on criminal justice matters are uniquely influenced by immigration. Perceptions sometimes differ between the native born and...more.


The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a university research center with the mission to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city, has produced these digital publications using the USC Media Curator, an online publishing platform designed to bring together innovative research from across the University of Southern California and beyond. This project curates research on Latinos and the criminal justice system, focusing on  Latino experiences with crimedisparities in the system, and Latino public opinion & perception. This project was supported by Californians for Safety and JusticeAdditionally, Californians for Safety and Justice released in June 2014 a comprehensive report on existing data about Latinos, crime and the justice system, including recommendations. Click here to learn more. 


Prison guard tower

USC Dornsife/LA Times Poll on Proposals to Reduce Prison Overcrowding

A 2013 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll conducted September 18-24, 2013, surveyed California voters’ opinions on proposals to reduce prison overcrowding. According to the sample: Latin...more.