Half all people sentenced to federal prisons are now Latino; Op. Streamline major cause

A full half of all people sentenced to federal prisons are now Latino while Latinos make up only 16% of the total population, according to a new report from the Associated Press (Garance Burke, Hispanics new majority sentenced to federal prison, September 6, 2011), reporting on Sentencing Commission data.

Is this because Latinos are now committing more crimes?  No, according to the report, it’s because of the shift towards prosecutions of immigration violations under programs like Operation Streamline:

Sentences for felony immigration crimes, which include illegal crossing as well as other crimes such as alien smuggling, accounted for most of the increase in the number of Hispanics sent to prison over the last decade.

Operation Streamline has ripped countless families apart, cost the government billions of dollarsenriched the private prison industrycaused a judicial emergency, and now is apparently contributing to monumental demographic shifts in the prison system.   Perhaps its time to rethink this program?