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MATOS, Raquel; BARBOSA, Mariana; SALGUEIRO, Gabriela  and  MACHADO, Carla. Foreign nationals in Portugal: migrations, crime and imprisonment. Psicologia [online]. 2013, vol.27, n.1, pp.33-45. ISSN 0874-2049.

In this paper three socially relevant topics are discussed: the evolution of migration patterns in Portugal, the social construction of ‘the immigrant’ and last decade's evolution of the numbers and characteristics of foreign nationals in Portuguese prisons. If there has been an historical tendency to associate immigration and crime, recent research has proved that this is not always accurate and that immigrants can have a positive impact on societies’ demography and dynamics (Rosa et al., 2003). In this paper it is argued that, even though there is a strong evidence of the increase in the proportion of foreign nationals in prisons, there is a lack of knowledge about the different scenarios of foreign nationals’ criminality, depending on their status (legal versus illegal, residents versus non residents). By providing this discussion we expect to contribute to the deconstruction of the stereotypes that relate foreign nationals to crime.

Keywords : Foreign nationals; criminalization; imprisonment.

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