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Scott Gfeller


Latinos are a minority population who are largely stereotyped as violent and vulnerable to committing crimes in America. While Latinos’ vulnerability to committing crimes is attributed to multiple factors, little attention has been drawn towards the relationship between Latinos’ emotional disturbance and probability toward perpetrating or preventing crime. The rational choice theory, trait theory, and biological theory were used to show relationships between emotional disturbance and cognitive processes underlying recidivism that are common among Latinos in Texas. This study investigated the impact of emotional disturbance on decision-making processes among Latinos in Texas as a motivator or deterrent to engage in crime. An explorative qualitative research approach was adopted. Five professionals working in the criminal justice system in Texas were interviewed. Data analysis was done thematically and findings were presented in a narrative format based on Braun and Clarke’s model for thematic analysis. Themes regarding discrimination, racial stereotyping, emotional stability, increase in criminal behavior, unfairness in the criminal justice system, high incarceration of Latinos, and mitigation effects emotional disturbance were prevalent in the findings. It emerged that emotional disturbance has a relationship with criminal behavior activities among Latinos living in Texas, although, it is triggered by poverty, stereotyping, and discrimination. It is recommended that the criminal justice system in Texas should embrace community programs aimed at improving the living standards of Latinos. Texas should amend the Texas Labor code Chapter 21 to include more stringent measures that will mitigate discrimination against Latinos.

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