LatCrit and Criminology: Toward a Theoretical Understanding of Latino/a/x Crime and Criminal Legal System Involvement

Mari acute a.B. Ve acute lez, Anthony A. Peguero

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


An important body of work documents how race matters for the patterning of crime and criminal legal system involvement largely by focusing on comparisons between Blacks and Whites. We build on this vital scholarship by spotlighting Latino/a/xs, a fast-growing group that is the United States rsquo largest racial minority, to broaden the field's understanding of race and crime. In this review, we follow race scholars who see Latino/a/xs as a racial category because dominant actors racialize them as an innate, distinct, inferior, and criminogenic category, leading to their marginalized experiences across many domains. Moreover, Latino/a/xs increasingly view themselves as not White. Studying Latino/a/xs offers an opportunity to integrate key tenets of Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory (LatCrit), which provide a scaffolding to center race and racism. LatCrit highlights the ways racism metes out discrimination, cultural and linguistic devaluation, criminalization, and racial profiling that in turn shape and are shaped by levels of Latino/a/x crime and legal system involvement. This article provides a description of what it means to center race with an emphasis on LatCrit,an empirical assessment of Latino/a/x crime and legal system involvement, and an integration of core criminological theory with LatCrit. By doing so, we advance the field to more directly and robustly engage with the idea that racial disparities in crime and legal system involvement are products of racialization as well as attendant policies, institutions, and practices that historically and contemporaneously subjugate and marginalize the Latino/a/x population. We seek to push the boundaries of criminology theory and thereby invigorate and equip them for the twenty-first century and its racial landscape, which is increasingly Latino/a/x.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-338
Number of pages32
JournalAnnual Review of Criminology
StatePublished - Jan 27 2023


  • Latinos
  • criminological theory
  • critical race theory
  • ethnicity
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'LatCrit and Criminology: Toward a Theoretical Understanding of Latino/a/x Crime and Criminal Legal System Involvement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this