Hispanic Heritage Month: Opportunity to Highlight Injustice

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Darren Kavinoky speaking about Hispanic Heritage Month

A message from 1.800.NoCuffs founder, attorney Darren Kavinoky:

September is Hispanic Heritage Month, a month to celebrate how Hispanics have enriched American society. Yet, as a criminal defense attorney, I also see it as an opportunity to highlight the injustice that people of Hispanic descent face every single day.

The facts about Hispanics and the justice system are stunning. Hispanics are stopped and arrested at a much higher rate than other ethnic groups. And, they make up a larger percentage of the state prison population. Statistics also show they face more stringent jail sentences.

And sadly, things don’t get better in the federal court system. According to a PEW Research Center report, Latinos account for approximately “40% of all sentenced federal offenders more than triple their share (13%) of the total U.S. adult population.” (1)

This is not a problem we can fix overnight, but it is one that is close to my heart. Wrongful arrest and imprisonment, especially when based on race, is absolutely intolerable. There should be no such thing as “Driving While Brown” as a reason for a traffic stop or police investigation.


Hispanics Graduation Rate Rises

But here’s the good news. According to another PEW Research Center report, “Over the past four decades, the number of Hispanics graduating with either an associate or a bachelor’s degree has increased seven-fold.” (2)

This is growth that is outpacing any other group. This is an educated segment of society with a lot to teach and share. So let’s use this month to remind ourselves that celebrating every heritage is what makes us a great nation!

Darren Kavinoky

Join the conversation online #HispanicHeritageMonth

I join @1800NoCuffs in raising awareness for justice and ending discrimination. #HispanicHeritageMonth

More Information on Hispanic Arrest rates

According to the 2015 California DUI-MIS report, “Among 2013 DUI arrestees, Hispanics (44.6%) were the largest racial/ethnic group as they have been each year for over a decade. Hispanics continued to be arrested at a rate substantially higher than their estimated percentage of California’s adult population (35.4% in 2013).”

Hispanics, according to the NAACP, together with African Americans “comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one-quarter of the US population.” (4) They statistically face more stringent jail sentences than whites and are more likely to be expelled from school.

According to the 2009 PEW Research Center Report, “Sharp growth in illegal immigration and increased enforcement of immigration laws have dramatically altered the ethnic composition of offenders sentenced in federal courts. In 2007, Latinos accounted for 40% of all sentenced federal offenders—more than triple their share (13%) of the total U.S. adult population.” (1)


1. Mark Hugo Lopez and Michael T. Light. February 18, 2009. PEW Research Center Report. “A Rising Share: Hispanics and Federal Crime” Retrieved via https://www.scribd.com/document/12657999/A-Rising-Share-Hispanics-and-Federal-Crime

2. Richard Fry and Mark Hugo Lopez. August 20, 2012. PEW Research Center. “IV. College Graduation and Hispanics.” Retrieved via http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/08/20/iv-college-graduation-and-hispanics/.


4. NAACP. Criminal Justice Fact Sheet. Retrieved via https://studyclerk.com/blog/criminal-justice-fact-sheet

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Nicole Hanratty
Nicole Hanratty
Journalist. No Cuffs Report Contributor.