Ethnicity, racism and the cjs

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  • Created by: charl_w
  • Created on: 22-03-16 18:01
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  • Ethnicity, racism and the criminal justice system.
    • 1. Policing
      • As Phillips and Bowling note, since the 1970's there have been many allegations of oppressive policing in of minority ethnic communities.
    • 2. Stop and search
      • Member son minority ethnic groups are more likely to be stopped and searched by police.
        • Police can use this power if they have 'reasonable suspicion' of wrongdoing.
      • Police can use this power if they have 'reasonable suspicion' of wrongdoing.
      • Compared with white people, black people are 7x more likely to be stopped and searched and again people twice as likely.
      • Under the terrosism act 2000, police can stop and search persons or vehicles whether they have suspicion or not.
        • Asians were 3x more likely to be stopped and searched than other people under the terrorism act.
          • It is therefore unsurprising that members of minority ethnic communities are less likely to think the police acted politely when stopping them.
            • As Phillips and Bowne note, members of these communities are more likely to think they are over policed and under protected and have limited faith in the police.
    • 3. Explaining stop and search patterns
      • There are 3 possible reasons for the disproportionate use of stop and search against members of minority ethnic groups.
      • 1. Police Racism. The Macpherson Report on the investigation into Stephen Lawerences' racist murder concluded that there was institutional racism within the met police.
        • Phillips and Bowling have found officers hold negative stereotypes about ethnic minorities as criminals.
      • 2. Ethnic differences in offending. The patterns may simply reflect the possibility that some ethnic groups are more likely to offend.
        • In low discretion stops, police act on relevant info about a specific offence.
        • In high discretion stops, police act without specific intelligence. in these stops discrimination is like.
      • 3. Demographic factors. Ethnic minorities are over represented in the groups most likely to be stopped regardless of their ethnicity
        • e.g the young, unemployed etc are also stopped more.
    • 4. Arrests and cautions
      • Figures for england and wales show that in 2006/7 the arrest rate for blacks was 3.6 times the rate for whites.
      • By contrast, once arrested, blacks and asians were less likely than whites to receive a caution.
      • One reason for this may be that members of ethnic minority ethnic groups are more likely to deny the offence and to exercise the right to legal advice (possibly out of mistrust of the police)
        • However, not admitting the offence means they cannot be let off with a caution and are more likely to be charged instead.
    • 5. Prosecution
      • The Crown Prosecution Service (cps) is the body responsible for deciding whether a case brought by the police should be prosecuted in court.
      • The cps must decide whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction and whether prosecution is in the public interest.
      • Studies suggest that the cps is more likely to drop cases against ethnic minorities. Bowling and Phillips argue that this may be cut evidence presented to cps by the police is weaker and based on stereotyping.
    • 6. Trial
      • When cases go ahead, members of minority ethnic groups are more likely to elect for trial before a jury in the crown court rather than a magistrates court.
    • 7. Convictions
      • Black and asian defendants are less likely to be found guilty.
        • In 2006/7 60% of white defendants were found guilty compared to 52% of blacks and 44% of asians.
          • This suggests discrimination in the police and cps may be bringing weaker cases against ethnic minorities that are thrown out of courts.
    • 8. Sentencing
      • In 2006, custodial sentences were given to a greater proportion of black offenders (68%) than white (55%) or asian offenders (59%).
        • Whereas whites and asians were more likely than blacks to receive community sentences.
          • This may be due to differences in the seriousness of the offences.
    • 9. Pre- sentence reports
      • One reason for harsher sentences is pre-sentence reports written by probation officers.
      • A PSR is intended as a risk assessment to assist magistrates in deciding the appropriate sentence for an offender.
      • Hudson and Bramhall argues PSR discriminate.
        • They found reports on asian offenders were less comprehensive and suggested they were less remorseful than white offenders.
        • They place this bias in the context of the 'demonising' of muslims in the wake of events of 11 September 2001.
    • 10. Prison
      • In 2007, just over a 1/4 of male prison population were from minority ethnic groups.
      • Blacks were 5x more likely to be in prison than whites. Black and asian offenders are more likely than whites to be serving longer sentences.
      • Ethnic minorities are less likely to be granted bail while awaiting trial.


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